The nation's annual celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy hits full tilt on Monday with the observance of the national holiday – Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Myriad events are set here in Memphis, where he was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on the evening of April 4, 1968. King was born on Jan. 15, 1929.
The King holiday coincides with the second inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition-Memphis Chapter will link those elements during an observation that begins at 11 a.m. Monday (Jan. 21) at Monumental Baptist Church at 704 South Parkway East.
The Rev. Dr. L. LaSimba Gray, president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition-Memphis, said the inauguration would be streamed lived and woven into the group's annual observance of Dr. King's legacy on MLK Day. After the swearing-in, a panel discussion will ensue delving into deeper meanings of the inauguration. Elected officials, business leaders and civic and community activists will explore the topic.
Other events honoring Dr. King's legacy include:
LOC community cleanup to honor Dr. King's legacy
The LeMoyne-Owen College Community Partnership (LOCCP), Clean Memphis, Volunteer Mid-South and members of the general public will participate in the Fifth Annual Martin Luther King Service Day and Clean-up from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday (Jan. 19). Kick off at the Alma C. Hanson Student Center on the LeMoyne-Owen campus, 807 Walker Ave., at 8:30 a.m. For more information: Dr. Kimberly Lamar, 901-435-1435
King National Holiday Parade
National Civil Rights Museum
Themed "Education Equity: A Movement in the Community," this year's King Holiday observance – from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m – will include activities surrounding access to quality education for everyone. There will be children's activities, live entertainment, radio remotes, resource tents and opportunities to give back to the community.
The King Holiday continues to be a day of service as the museum hosts its 4th Annual King Holiday Food Drive, benefitting the Mid-South Food Bank. Bring canned goods to the museum and receive $1 off the reduced King Day admission of $3. Or, give blood to the LifeBlood Mid-South Regional Blood Center for free admission for four. For more information call 901-521-9699, ext. 2239.
Rev. Wells to keynote MIFA's King Day event
MIFA will host a public birthday celebration on Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. at its headquarters, 910 Vance Ave. The free event will feature guest speaker the Rev. Dorothy Wells of Church of the Holy Apostles, and will include the announcement of the finalists in MIFA's eighth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Teen Oratorical Contest. A special holiday meal will be delivered to area homebound seniors.
Grizzlies' King Celebration Day
The Memphis Grizzlies will host their 11th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Day on Monday, Jan. 21 when they play the Indiana Pacers at noon. NBA Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing, Elgin Baylor and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown will be honored for their contributions to civil and human rights. The event is hosted by the Memphis Grizzlies, National Civil Rights Museum, City of Memphis and Shelby County and presented by FedEx, Hyde Family Foundation, Lexus, Delta Air Lines, C Spire Wireless and MLGW. Associate Game Sponsors include SunTrust, McDonald's of the Mid-South and State Farm.
The National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Ceremony will be prior to tip-off. The halftime ceremony will feature a special Dr. King video tribute, recognition of Brown, Ewing and Baylor, and a performance by recording artist Aaron Neville.
The Southwind Jaguars will tip-off against the Amanda Elzy Panthers at 3 p.m. in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day High School Classic. Admission free with the purchase of a ticket to the Grizzlies game. For more information: 901-888-HOOP or visit grizzlies.com.
Mid-South Peace & Justice Center
The Mid-South Peace & Justice Center will host a grassroots gala and banquet in honor of Dr. King at First Congregational Church, at 1000, South Cooper, on Saturday (Jan. 19), with initial seating at 6 p.m.
The featured speaker is Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, a senior fellow at the Nation Institute and noted commentator on the Occupy Movement. Hedges is a former New York Times correspondent.
Free childcare is available for those who register when purchasing tickets or by calling 901-725-4990, where information about tickets also is available.
"The Mountaintop," written by Memphis native Katori Hall, will run Jan. 18 to Feb. 10 at The Circuit Playhouse, 51K. S. Cooper St., where it will be produced in collaboration with Hattiloo Theatre.
The play is a re-imagining of the events on the day before Dr. King was killed. It is directed by Tony Horne and features the Circuit Playhouse debuts of Lawrence Blackwell and Detra Payne (Hattiloo Drama Club).
"The Mountaintop" runs Jan. 18 – Feb. 10 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. The Pay What You Can performance is Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. (The play comes with an adult language advisory.) For more information or to make reservations, call 901-726-4656 or purchase tickets online at playhouseonthesquare.org.
BRIEFLY: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer and Praise Celebration at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 21 at 9 a.m. Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD, D.D. is the presider and Deacon James R. Turner of Louisville, Ky., is speaker/homilist. The theme is "Continuing the Legacy, Living the Faith." The Voices of St. Augustine, with the St. Augustine liturgical dancers and the Bantaba drummers. Gifts received will be donated to Catholic Charity Food Pantry.
BRIEFLY: The Children's Museum of Memphis will honor Dr. King with a special birthday celebration featuring arts and crafts, a "Peace Quilt," songs, and a birthday cake. The celebration is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 21.
BRIEFLY: The Jackson Madison County NAACP Dr. Martin L. King Celebration will be on Monday Jan. 21, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with a community march from T.R. White Sportsplex to Mt. Zion Baptist Church 201 West Chester St. A program will follow, with the keynote address by the Rev. William Watson of First Baptist Church in Jackson. Harold Carter, president; the Rev. Lawrence Ragland, MLK Chairman 2013. The theme is "Recognizing the Struggle, Realizing the Dream"