365 Things To Do In Memphis #16: Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day In Memphis
365 Things to Do in Memphis #16: Observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day
365 Things to Do in Memphis #16
365 Things to Do in Memphis #16
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on Monday, January 17th, 2022. It's a chance to reflect, honor, and celebrate Dr. King's legacy on the date of his birthday. Assignment #16 on our 365 Things To Do In Memphis list is to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Memphis.
Here are a few ways to celebrate MLK Day in Memphis.
Memphis organizations coordinate volunteer efforts so the community can get involved for Martin Luther King Day each year. In 2022, Volunteer Memphis will MLK Days of Service, with dozens of projects going on all weekend.
The NCRM is perhaps the most important attraction in Memphis. In terms of history and the city's role in the worldwide struggle for civil rights, it's a must-visit for visitors and locals alike. After its renovation and reopening in 2014, the NCRM does an even better job of telling that story with immersive, multimedia, and interactive exhibits that focus on the people behind a movement that continues today.
The museum is located at the Lorraine Motel in the South Main neighborhood of downtown Memphis. It is free to observe the plaza and the balcony where Dr. King was standing when he was killed. For the King Day celebration, the NCRM allows free entry from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The capacity will be limited, so you'll need to reserve your space online ahead of time.
The Museum will also accept donations of money and food for the Mid-South Food Bank and Vitalant will host a blood drive on site, too.
3. Stop by the Mason Temple (930 Mason Street)
This is where Dr. King delivered the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech on the night before his assassination. You can read the speech or listen to a recording of Dr. King giving the speech here. For MLK Day in Memphis, make a stop to look at the building. It is currently the world headquarters for the Church of God In Christ.
4. Visit The I AM A MAN Plaza at Clayborn Temple (280 Hernando Street)
The "I AM A MAN" plaza, which is adjacent to Clayborn Temple across the street from FedExForum. If you haven't been since it was installed in 2018, I encourage you to take a quiet moment and visit. It honors the people of the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike, the people who Dr. King traveled to Memphis to support before his assassination. Read a bit more here.
5. Take a Quick Visit MLK Reflection Park (2nd and MLK Ave.)
Opened as a part of MLK50 (the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination in 2018) this park in downtown Memphis is home to the "I Have Been To The Mountaintop" sculpture, water features, and historical panels. It is only a block or two away from the National Civil Rights Museum and Clayborn Temple.
6. Visit The Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum (826 N. Second St.)
Located at the former Burkle Estate, this antebellum home served as a station on the Underground Railroad in the 1800s. Walk the floors of the home that was a part of this secret system, which aided escaped enslaved people in their journey out of the South long before Emancipation and the Civil Rights Movement.
7. Memphis Grizzlies GAme
The NBA will have twelve big games on Monday, Jan. 17th and usually have programming to commemorate MLK Day. The Grizzlies will play at FedEXForum at 2:30 p.m. against the Chicago Bulls. More info TBA.
While you may not be able to take this guided driving tour of the city on MLK Weekend, you should certainly add "A Tour of Possibilities" to your Memphis bucket list. The passionate, entertaining Carolyn Michael Banks aka "Queen" will serve as your guide to several civil rights and African American points of interest around the city.
Everyone is welcome on her tours, where she provides plenty of historic and musical context for each stop and the city in general. Read more.
Inaugural 5K and 1 mile run/walk on January 17th at AutoZone Park starting at noon. This run/walk is all about positivity and unity. Proceeds will go toward local organizations committed to literacy tutoring, vocational training and minority leadership development.
How will you observe and celebrate Martin Luther King Day in Memphis this year? What does the holiday mean to you? Let me know in the comments.
I would like to invite people to include the Withers Collection Museum/Gallery 333 Beale St. Take a walk through history looking to at the hundreds of photos on display including Martin Luther Kings last 12 years, Memphis music and the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro league baseball from Martin Stadium.
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