January 14, 2015 |

Top 5 Events: Celebrating MLK Day and African-American Heritage


Next Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and so this week we’re telling you about the many great events focused on both Dr. King as a visionary civil rights activist as well as the African-American heritage of Philadelphia. Help be a part of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service movement by volunteering on a service project,  explore 200 years of African-American art and dance the night away at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, hear the words of Dr. King (written while he was jailed in Birmingham) read by professional actors at Eastern State Penitentiary, and more.

Art After 5: Pictures at an African American Exhibition and Late Night Dance Party
When: January 16, 2015, 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.  Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Cost: Free after admission

Kick off your weekend with the latest installment of the PMA’s popular Art After 5 series. Explore their exhibit Represent: 200 Years of African American Art, listen to the music of Darryl Yokley and Sound Reformation at the Great Stairs, and then dance all night long to the music of guest DJ Rob Base. This event is free after admission, and after 8 p.m., admission is only $10!

Martin Luther King Weekend: Readings of the Letter and Family
When: January 17 -19, 2015, all day Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia Cost: Free after admission

Hear the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” (written while he was held in Birmingham Jail) read by professional actors all weekend at Eastern State Penitentiary. At 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 pm., actors will read excerpts from the letter. A Q&A, moderated by a civil rights scholar, will follow each reading. Tickets to the event are free, but must be reserved either in advance online (with a $1 processing fee) or at the door. Take time to explore the rest of the Penitentiary afterward.

20th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service
When: January 19. 2015, all day Where: Various locations Cost: Free!

Since 1995, the residents of Philadelphia have come together every year to donate their time, skills, and energy to civic and community projects all over the city. The day of service is actually the largest of the kind in the country, with over 125,000 volunteers last year, and you can be a part of it. Just visit the official website, register as a volunteer, and browse the plethora of opportunities (Vice President Joe Biden even participated a couple of years ago!). So sign up and find an opportunity that interests you!

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s MLK Tribute Concert
When: January 19, 2015, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Where: Girard College, 2101 South College Avenue Cost: Free, but reservations are needed

If you have not heard the musical power of Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, now is your chance to experience it for yourself for free. The Orchestra will be performing pieces from Brahms and Hannibal, as well as traditional pieces such as “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel.” The performance is free for anyone to attend, but a ticket is required, and you can reserve yours here. Doors open at 12:30.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sharing the Heritage Celebration and Day of Service
When: January 19, 2015, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Where: African American Museum of Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia Cost: Free!

The AAMP is joining up with Citizens Bank Foundation to have a day of crafts, celebration, and performance in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. You’ll be able to make a tote bag out of T-shirts, listen to a local girls’ choir, participate in a break dance workshop, and see storytellers perform. The event is free to attend, but you are encouraged to bring food to donate to Philabundance and books to donate to Philadelphia Reads.


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