Every year, Philadelphia honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day to give back.
Now in its 19th year, the Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is the largest MLK Day event in the country. More than 100,000 volunteers participated in 1,500 service projects in 2013 and this year is expected to be bigger than ever.
In addition to hundreds of volunteer service projects, Philadelphia celebrates MLK Day with special events and festivities throughout the day. Check out a few of our top MLK Day celebrations in Philadelphia below.
Enjoy free admission to the African American Museum all day and celebrate with special events and activities including a scavenger hunt, break dance workshop and Community Celebration with live music, readings and more. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be opening its doors Monday, offering Pay What You Wish admission in addition to a day-long Arts & Service Workshop featuring activities for all ages. Arts and crafts created will be donated to the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance and the Cascarones Por la Vida Art Fund.
The National Constitution Center commemorates MLK Day. You can check out the full program schedule online.
Eastern State Penitentiary honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with special readings of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” during the holiday weekend. Listen to excerpts read from Dr. King’s letter–written 50 years ago–twice daily on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The readings are free and open to the public. Free tickets are available at easternstate.org/tickets or at the door subject to availability.
The Franklin Institute is honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with showings of his iconic “I Have A Dream” on the walls of Franklin Hall at the top of every hour. Additional events include an “African American Scientists Scavenger Hunt” and the creation of a wall of dreams.
Admission to the National Museum of American Jewish History will be free all day as the museum commemorates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
National Marian Anderson Historical Society
The entire senior community is invited to come and celebrate the li8fe and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At a free luncheon and musical tribute featuring Lady Blanche Burton Lyles and resident classical scholar Jillian Patricia Pirtle. This event will be held on Monday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Marian Anderson Museum, 762 S. Martin St.
If you would like to volunteer your time or donate to this event on behalf of the seniors, or for any further information, call the society’s office at (215) 732-9505.
Historic Fair Hill Cemetery
Join history-loving volunteer caretakers for Martin Luther King Day at Historic Fair Hill, 2901 Germantown Avenue, Monday, Jan. 20, 10 am.-1 p.m.
At 10 a.m., volunteers will pick up trash around the 5-acre site and collect fallen branches. At 111 a.m., historic tours will visit the Underground Railroad Mural at 2950 Germantown Avenue and the graves of great abolitionists, including African Americans Robert & Harriet Purvis and whites Lucretia & James Mott. At noon they’ll enjoy hot cocoa around the bonfire, read from Dr. King’s speeches, and sing Protest Era anthems.
On the National Register of Historic Places, Historic Fair Hill is a 300-year-old Quaker burial ground – the final resting place of important abolitionists and reformers including Robert Purvis, “President” of the Underground Railroad; Lucretia Mott, 19th-century abolitionist and women’s rights activist; and Edward Morris Davis, a founder of the Philadelphia Union League.
Join the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance on MLK Day, as they partner with Arden Theatre, With Art Philadelphia, Art-Reach and First Person Arts to celebrate arts, culture and community, and launch their latest community project GroundSwell at 20 N. 2nd Street, 5:30-8 p.m.
Two programs powered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance have partnered to help promote cultural service projects and volunteer opportunities planned for the 19th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014.
Phillyfunguide.com, the region’s go-to online calendar for cultural events, and GroundSwell, the Cultural Alliance’s grassroots-advocacy and community-engagement initiative, have curated a list of MLK Day of Service events around our region. Events have been gathered from a variety of community and cultural organizations. For a full list of cultural service projects, volunteers can visit http://www.phillyfunguide.com/MLKDay2014.
“To me, what’s great about GroundSwell is that it gives us a multi-pronged tool to advocate for, take action on and build awareness of all the many powerful ways that arts and culture benefits our region,” explains Cultural Alliance Interim Exec. Dir. Michael Norris. “ Not only can we engage GroundSwell volunteers to show up and do stuff to enhance the quality of life for people; but we can also use the GroundSwell blog and social-media platforms to promote all the great work our members — and many other organizations — do to improve their communities.”
After they spend the day volunteering, the public is encouraged to join GroundSwell for their 1-Year Anniversary Party & MLK Day of Service Celebration later that evening at the RUBA Club, 414 Green Street. The event will include a special performance by The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and a presentation of the 2014 GroundSwell Award for outstanding community service and partnership with GroundSwell in the last year.
For more information on the GroundSwell 1-Year Anniversary Party & MLK Day of Service Celebration, visit: http://www.groundswell1yrparty.eventbrite.com/
The MLK weekend begins with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’s 2014 Civil Rights Achievement Awards. Awards to Hon. D-Army Bailey, J. Whyatt Mondesire and Dr. Sonia Sanchez will be formally announced at a City Hall press conference tomorrow.
On Saturday, Jan. 18, PLBC will screen a film at the Pearl Theatre, 1600 N. Broad Street, at 10 a.m. followed by a discussion at noon.
The awards will be presented that evening at the African American Museum, 701 Arch Street. The reception will start at 6 p.m.
For more information, contact the chairwoman of PLCB, State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, at (215) 879-6615 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., will lead the 31st annual Commemorative Prayer Service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Catholics along with other Christians and people of other faiths will gather at St. Malachy Catholic Church to celebrate the life and legacy of the civil-rights leader on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 at 3 p.m. St. Malachy is located at 1429 N. 11th Street.
The commemorative prayer service will begin with a procession of religious leaders. Invited speakers from several denominations will proclaim a Scriptural passage and offer a short reflection. Throughout the service, St. Malachy Parish choir will lead the congregation with spirited gospel music.
The Archdiocesan Commemorative Prayer Service is sponsored by the Secretariat for Evangelization and the Office for Black Catholics. All are welcome to attend.