January 08, 2016
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
The Civil Rights activist was addressing a 1957 audience in Montgomery, Alabama, when he said those words but his message still inspires action today. Each year, on MLK Day, we honor King's memory by either volunteering in our communities or joining a community event celebrating his mission.
This year in Philadelphia, use the long weekend to join with family or friends in one of the community-based activities below -- whether it's donating goods, volunteering time, or just learning more about the Civil Rights Movement.
Each year, for MLK Day, Citizens Bank Park teams up with the African American Museum in Philadelphia to host a weekend full of activities. Admission to the museum is only $2 over the weekend but guests are asked to bring canned goods to be donated to Philabundance or lightly used business attire to be donated to Career Wardrobe.
Over the long weekend, attendees will have a chance to enjoy MLK Day activities, live performances and workshops, such as a hip hop dance workshop, face painting, jazz workshop and balloon animals. Times for each day vary.
The exhibit titled "Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876" will also be available to view.
Saturday, Jan. 16-18
$2 general admission
African American Museum in Philadelphia
701 Arch St.
There will be MLK Day weekend activities at the children's museum starting on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 10 a.m and ending at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, will follow the same schedule, however, on Monday, Jan. 18, the event will start at noon.
During the weekend, guests will have a chance to create get-well cards for a local children’s hospital. Visitors can also decorate and add a square to collaborative quilts that will also be donated.
There will be an interactive story time inspired by King with a craft afterward and an educational live performance by Hip Hop Fundamentals.
King's 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail" will be read at the Penitentiary three times daily (11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) from Saturday, Jan. 16 to Monday, Jan. 18.
After each reading, there will be a Q&A with a Civil Rights scholar who will speak about the relevance of the letter to today's audience.
There will also be an opportunity for children to create art using the themes from the letter.
On MLK Day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, there will be a chance to create art for the Philly community. MANNA, a local organization that gives meals to those with illness, will be on hand to collect the artwork and distribute it.
A gospel choir will perform at 1 p.m., and there will be family tours of the museum at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
On Monday, Jan. 18 the Woodmere Art Museum, located in Chestnut Hill, will host a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. festival between noon and 4 p.m. At the free, family-friendly event all are welcome to celebrate the Civil Rights Movement and the man who played a key role in it.
Starting off the festival is a storytelling session, where the stories of King, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Harriet Tubman and many others who fought for freedom and civil rights will be shared. Afterward, there will be an arts and crafts project where attendees will create enlarged postage stamps of the Civil Rights Movement and its heroes.
Then at 2 p.m. there will be a live performance by the Hip Hop Fundamentals, a break dance group inspired to use hip-hop as an educational tool. The performance will use dance, audience participation, and a variety of activities to explore the social conditions that gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement.
When the Hip Hop Fundamentals finish there will be a spoken word presentation by eighth-grade students.
Monday, Jan. 18
Noon to 4 p.m. | Free
Woodmere Art Museum
9201 Germantown Ave.
The National Constitution Center will join with Global Citizen’s Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service again this year. Global Citizen offers a year-round program providing volunteer options while it's greater Philadelphia area Day of Service is the largest of it's kind in the nation.
During the event, there will be plenty of opportunities to give back to the community and volunteer time. There will be a book and school supply drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., which visitors will help organize for delivery to local schools.
The museum will also host a project that benefits Women Against Abuse, a local nonprofit that provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal services, behavioral healthcare, advocacy and education to victims of domestic violence. Visitors are invited to sew pillows for the shelter.
Rounding out the event is a performance of the “I Have a Dream” speech, a singalong, an educational show about King and a story session.
Monday, Jan. 18
10 a.m. | $5 general admission
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.
The free concert will honor King's life and work through music. While the event is free to attend, tickets are still required and seating will be first-come. Doors will open at 1 p.m. for the 1:30 show time.
New for 2016, the concert will also be broadcast live at WRTI 90.1 FM. Listeners can tune in on the radio or through the WRTI website.
Monday, Jan. 18
1:30 p.m. | Free with reservation
2101 S. College Ave.