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15 Ways You Can Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day In Chicago This Year

Family-friendly events, skating sessions, discussions and more are being hosted to celebrate MLK Day this weekend.

Left: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in North Lawndale. Right: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church in 1966.
Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church
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CHICAGO — Chicagoans all over the city have walks, bike rides, donation drives and more planned for this weekend to celebrate civil rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 

MLK Day on Monday celebrates the birth of King, the renowned Civil Rights movement leader. Block Club rounded up 15 MLK Day events for people looking to honor his life and legacy. 

Think we missed something? Email Newsroom@blockclubchicago.org with the details.

Hoop Hard Or Get Off The Court MLK Basketball Tournament

10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday

Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave.

This community basketball tournament, hosted By Hoop Hard Or Get Off The Court founder Larry Daniels, will celebrate MLK Day. A full schedule with participating teams is online. The event is free. 

DuSable Museum MLK Day Events

Various times throughout Monday, starting at 10 a.m.

DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place

The DuSable Museum is hosting a variety of MLK Day events, including a children’s storytime, a screening of 2001 film “Boycott,” activity tables and a taping of elder’s stories of King. A DJ will perform throughout the day. There will also be a pop-up Civil Rights Movement exhibit with items from DuSable Museum’s collection and a ’50 bus provided by PACE outside the museum to honor Rosa Parks. 

The Go Hub Presents: The North Lawndale Racial Justice Ride

10 a.m. Monday

Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 W. Ogden Ave.

Community members will do a group bike ride and visit historical places relevant to King’s time in North Lawndale. Those interested can get free tickets online

Family Event for MLK Day

10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday

Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.

The Chicago History Museum will host activities and performances for all ages. King’s life and his work in Chicago, including the Chicago Freedom Movement, will be the focus. There will be a community fair, documentary film screening and more.

The event is free with museum admission, which will waived for Illinois residents on MLK Day. The schedule is online

MLK Wellness Walk

10 a.m. Saturday

Hamlin and Monroe at Garfield Park

This wellness walk, sponsored by The GOlympians, aims to honor King’s legacy by getting people outdoors and into the spirit of health and wellness. 

Stone Temple Baptist Church MLK Day Celebration

10:30 a.m. Monday

Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church, 3622 W. Douglas Blvd.

Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church, the historically Black church King preached at while he was in Chicago, is bringing back its annual MLK Celebration after the event was held virtually the past two years. Those interested in attending are encouraged to send an email to JCRC1@juf.org.

UCSC King Day of Service

9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday

Martin Luther King High School, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd.

The University of Chicago’s University Community Service Center is gathering volunteers, including students, staff and community members, for a day of service projects throughout Bronzeville. Projects will include a mural painting led by a local artist, beautification projects, a community clean-up and creating supply bags for people experiencing homelessness. The public is invited to participate. Those interested can register online.

My Block, My Hood, My City MLK Day of Service 

10 a.m.-noon Monday

8350 S. King Drive

My Block, My Hood, My City is collecting food, personal protective equipment, winter gear — including hats, gloves and scarves — and home goods to deliver to 500 older people across the city to honor King. People can volunteer to help at the event, bring items to donate or make deliveries

United Way Chicago: Mass Incarceration, Returning Citizens, and a Vision Forward

9-10 a.m. Monday

Zoom

This event will be a conversation with 2022 MacArthur Fellow Reuben Jonathan Miller, a sociologist, criminologist and the author of “Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and Afterlife of Mass Incarceration.” Participants will hear Miller talk about how to bring King’s idea of equity and justice to people in the carceral system.

MLK Day at the Institute of Nonviolence Chicago

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday

Institute of Nonviolence Chicago, 819 N. Leamington Ave.

This family-friendly event will celebrate the life of King. There will be a two-hour introduction discussing King’s ideas and thoughts on non-violence. Hygiene products will also be collected for in-need community members. Free tickets are online. Lunch will be provided. People can donate toothpaste, toothbrushes, menstrual products, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, socks and gloves for those in need. 

MLK Day: Southside Stories

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave.

The Hyde Park Art Center is hosting a variety of events for MLK Day, including movie screenings, a teen podcast series kickoff, coloring and performances. The schedule is online. Those interested in attending can register online for free. 

Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Family Day

9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday

5700 N. DuSable Lake Shore Drive

This annual exhibit showcases innovations made by Black people in art, science and technology. Families can enjoy an interactive art experience that mixes art and sound. Tickets are $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for children and can be bought online. 

Southside Community Art Center: Visions For A New Future

1-3 p.m. Monday

Southside Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave.

Attendees will create vision boards of what an equitable future looks to them, with provided craft material. The event is free, but those interested in attending are encouraged to make a reservation online

A Day of House Martin Luther King Holiday Tribute

2-8 p.m. Monday

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave.

Chicago fans of house music can head to The Promontory to see six DJs spinning deep house, Latin, African, retro and soul beats with sections of King’s speeches woven through. Tickets are $10 and must be bought online.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Family Entertainment Center MLK Day Events

Various times Saturday-Monday

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Family Entertainment Center, 1219 W. 76th St.

The Park District’s MLK Park and Family Entertainment Center is hosting skating events Saturday through Monday. There will be special skating sessions and pricing. On MLK Day, there will be an early-bird skate or bowl event and mystery character skate or bowl event. The schedule is online

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