4 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events for Chicago Families

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to honor the civil rights crusader and is also a great time to teach kids about his life and what the Nobel Peace Prize winner stood for. The annual holiday has also been designated as a national day of service, for families to work to better their communities.

With museums closed across the area, most family-friendly events have been moved online in 2021 as the country celebrates Dr. King’s legacy on Jan. 18. 

BBC Interview with Martin Luther King Jr.

When: Anytime

Hosted by: DuSable Museum of African American History

Watch John Freeman’s BBC interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1961. The reshowing of the 30-minute video is part of the DuSable Museum’s Lunch and Learn series. 

Grab and Go: MLK Day Craft

When: Jan. 17

Hosted by: Portage-Cragin Branch, Chicago Public Library

Kids ages 5-12 can pick up a craft bag at the Portage-Cragin Library to make a Martin Luther King Jr. Day-inspired craft. These materials will be available beginning Jan. 17 and will be handed out throughout the week while supplies last (all libraries are closed Jan. 18). This craft is intended for children ages 5-12. 

King Day Virtual Performance: Rebirth Poetry Ensemble and In the Spirit

When: Jan. 18

Hosted by: Art Institute of Chicago

As part of the Art Institute’s King Day celebrations, join Rebirth Poetry Ensemble and the performance duo In the Spirit featuring Zahra Baker and Emily Hooper Lansana. Youth poets from the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble have been performing at the annual King Day festival for several years, and this year they’ve created spoken-word pieces in response to the exhibition Bisa Butler: Portraits. In the Spirit, too, is returning to perform for King Day, bringing to life Butler’s quilts and the legacy of Dr. King, through original stories, woven together with rhythm and song.

In the Belly of the Beast: King in Chicago

When: Jan. 18

Hosted by: Yorkville Public Library

Dr. Martin Luther King’s journey to the mountaintop included many stops along the way. Between Montgomery and Memphis, he visited Chicago many times in pursuit of justice. History seems to have ignored or forgotten those incredible chapters in his life, and today they feel as relevant as they were 50 years ago. Join entertainer/historian Clarence Goodman for an extraordinary narrative in an extraordinary life.


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