MLK Jr. holiday: Commemorations around the state


Martin Luther King Day is Monday, Jan 20. Dr. King's actual birthday was Jan. 15, but the holiday is always celebrated the third Monday of January. Government offices and most schools are closed. Many businesses will be open.

The Associated Press reports many of Minnesota's prominent elected leaders will take part in a St. Paul celebration honoring Dr. King. Events start Monday morning at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, followed by the traditional march from the History Center to the Capitol, where there will be a program of speeches and performances.

The Pioneer Press published a list of celebrations around the Twin Cities:

  • "Re-Imagine the Future" is the theme of the 24th annual MLK holiday breakfast at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Hosted by the General Mills Foundation and the United Negro College Fund, political strategist Donna Brazile will deliver the keynote speech. The event runs from 7 to 9 a.m. Tickets for the breakfast are sold out. Three churches in St. Paul and one in Mahtomedi also will be serving breakfast and will stream a live broadcast of the event. Twin Cities Public Television will also live stream the event.
  • Gov. Mark Dayton will open an event at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will deliver the keynote on the theme "Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive." The event, which goes from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. includes performances and lunch, and will also be streamed live.
  • "Bring Your Child to Serve Day" will be hosted by Second Harvest Heartland. More than 400 volunteers are expected to sort and pack food in Golden Valley for nearly 600,000 hungry people in the Twin Cities.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and "Feeding the Dream" Food Drive will be hosted by former KMSP news anchor Robyne Robinson and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. The MPRB also will present its "Living the Dream" award to Larry Fitzgerald Jr., wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, for his dedication and commitment to the community. The celebration runs from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center at 4055 Nicollet Ave. S. in Minneapolis. Community members are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items at the center. Proceeds will be donated to the Sabathani Community Food Shelf. Performances and snacks will be available at Powderhorn Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information about the free events is available through the Minneapolis Parks website.
  • The 26th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocationfeatures T. Mychael Rambo and Brian Grandison singing at the Hoversten Chapel in the Foss Center at Augsburg College starting at 1 p.m.
  • MLK Jr. Holiday Diversity Networking Career Fair will introduce jobseekers to employers such as 3M, HealthPartners and Xcel Energy at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert:Bill Banfield and Jazz Urbane, Yolanda Williams, Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell and high school students from the FAIR School will be performing at Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus. It runs from 4 to 6 p.m. and is free.
  • The Calvary Baptist Church will be holding a service filled with music, dance, spoken word and a keynote address by Reverend Dr. Jin S. Kim of the Church of All Nations. Attendees are encouraged to bring "soulful desserts" to share afterward. The service runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The church is located at 2608 Blaisdell Ave. S. in Minneapolis.

The Duluth News Tribune lists area events for Monday.

  • 7-8 a.m. Monday: Free community breakfast at Holy Family Catholic Church, 2430 W. Third St., featuring a broadcast of the keynote speech from the Minneapolis Convention Center by Donna Brazile.
  • A march starts at 11 a.m. from the Washington Center through downtown to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. A rally will follow shortly after the march, featuring Roger Gregoire, Jireh Mabamba and Chang’aa Mweti. The rally will be interpreted in American Sign Language and broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio, 91.3 FM.
  • "Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle" features two documentaries at Zeitgeist Arts. "Freedom Riders" screens at 2 p.m., "Slavery by Another Name" at 4:30 p.m. - followed by guest speaker Robin Washington, editor of the News Tribune, at 6:30 p.m. Events are free; people can stay for all or part of the activities.

The Winona Daily News also published a roster of events.

  • At Saint Mary’s University, the remembrance begins Sunday with a 9 p.m. Mass at St. Thomas More Chapel, with guest musicians vocalist and pianist Scott Patterson of Baltimore and vocalist Adia Dobbins of Detroit.
  • On Monday, Xavier Wilson, a 1998 Saint Mary’s alumnus and assistant director of housing and residence life at Winona State University, will present Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the Toner Student Center at 12:45 p.m.
  • At 7 p.m. the public is invited to attend an ecumenical prayer service, hosted by the Saint Mary’s Office of Campus Ministry, in the Toner Student Center Lounge. A reception is planned at 7:45 p.m. in the lobby of the performance center. There will then be a Freedom Day Concert at 8:15 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, where Patterson and Dobbins will perform.
  • On Tuesday, Al Letson will present “Bayard Rustin: The Untold Story of a Civil and Gay Rights Pioneer” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Kryzsko Commons. Bayard Rustin was a strategist and activist in the struggle for human rights and economic justice alongside Martin Luther King Jr.

Last summer, Minnesotans were among those celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. One of the memorable lines from that speech is, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

CNN posted excerpts from less famous speeches, all sounding the urgent call for equality and justice.

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