Schools and most offices are closed on Monday, January 21, a national holiday honoring the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). Several museums and organizations that are normally closed on Mondays are open on this holiday, and some offer activities in which both adults and children can learn about Dr. King’s message of peace and equal rights for all people.
In New York City, there are many MLK celebrations happening all across the boroughs, including historic walking tours of Harlem and Seneca Village in Central Park, Brooklyn’s big bash with Harry Belafonte at BAM, readings and crafts at museums, and several free concerts.
Programming about the civil rights movement continues as we head into February, which is Black History Month.
This year’s celebration includes performances by Fort Greene/Clinton Hill’s own Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, and husband-and-wife R&B duo Kindred the Family Soul. Most notably, this 27th annual tribute features a keynote address by legendary musician and humanitarian Harry Belafonte.
Each year the JCC presents the powerful work of artists whose vision coincides with King’s voice for justice, peace and civil rights. Don’t miss this annual event featuring a line-up of visionary performers.
At the center of African-American history and culture, Harlem is one of New York’s most significant neighborhoods. This tour explores the history of Harlem, from its origins as a Dutch village in the 1600s, through its transformation into the “Capital of Black America” by the 1920s.
Celebrate NYC’s diversity by creating self-portraits to add to the "I Have a Dream" mural, while older kids can pledge to make a difference in their communities. All visitors will be treated to a concert by the famous Harlem Gospel Choir.
This exhibit features the stunning and historic photographs of Stephen Somerstein, documenting the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March in March 1965. Somerstein was a student in City College of New York’s night school and Picture Editor of his student newspaper when he traveled to Alabama to document the March.
Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday with creative art workshops that will give you the opportunity to create rousing and impassioned speeches, an animation video, stamps and embroidered portraits.
Explore the differences and similarities of various cultures as we learn about tolerance and peace. Discover pictures of children from around the world and learn Martin Luther King, Jr’s message of friendship and love as he joined hands with people of all colors on his march to freedom. Create a special craft to commemorate his message.
Seneca Village was Manhattan's first known community of African-American property owners, on land that would become Central Park. Learn about the history of the village, the property owners, and what New York City was like at the time.
The museum will be open 10:30 am to 5 pm on this day for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. This special MLK Day program includes a screening and discussion with Ruby Dee, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Barbara Montgomery.
In honor of MLK Day, we'll read "The Great Migration: Journey to the North" by Eloise Greenfield, another powerful story about saying goodbye and starting over. After, participate in a family-friendly exploration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and holiday-themed craft project.
The museum is open on January 21 to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. See the new exhibition "The Dream Continues" and take a close look at the Emancipation Proclamation in a 150th anniversary display of the document. Then join author Tonya Bolden at 2 pm for a special reading of her new book "Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty."
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, join award-winning performer Natalie Douglas and friends for an uplifting concert of civil rights songs by Nina Simone, Pete Seeger, Paul McCartney, and Lena Horne, including Horne's anthem"Now," which she sang to the tune of "Hava Nagila."