6 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events Happening Around Metro Detroit

Celebrate the legacy of the civil rights leader with the Charles H. Wright Museum, DIA, and Tour de Troit
Martin Luther King Jr Day - Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Photograph courtesy of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is upon us, and there are plenty of ways to honor the life of the civil rights activist locally. From taking in historical sites with bicyclists at Tour de Troit to family-friendly activities at the Charles H. Wright Museum and film showings at the Detroit Film Theatre and Troy Police Department, here are six events happening in metro Detroit on Jan. 20.

MLK Day: Beyond the Dream

If you’re looking for a variety of activities, the Detroit Historical Museum has you covered. The MLK Day: Beyond the Dream annual program runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes guided tours of the Detroit 67: Perspectives exhibit, a showing of live footage of King’s speeches, a rap-song writing workshop geared toward older kids with Detroit-based emcee and activist Deidre “S.S Sense” Smith, and a performance by the Renaissance High School Choir, 3d Dance Troupe, and Detroit Friends Vocal Ensemble. Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1805; detroithistorical.org 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Ride

Nonprofit bicycling organization Tour de Troit’s 8th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Ride zips along a route that spotlights historical events important to King, such as the Walk to Freedom march that led to Cobo Hall Arena (now TCF Center). It was there in 1963 that the civil rights leader shared what is considered to be a precursor to his “I Have a Dream” speech. Taking off at 10 a.m., the 10-mile route begins and ends at McGregor Memorial Conference Center on Wayne State University campus, and coffee and tea are provided following t­he event. Participants must register ahead of time or on the day of the ride. No cost. McGregor Memorial Conference Center, 495 Gilmour Mall, Detroit; 313-577-4585; tour-de-troit.org

King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis

The Detroit Institute of Art will show the 1970 Oscar-nominated film King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery To Memphis at 1 p.m. this Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Along with the film, the museum’s docents will also be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to discuss Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections, an exhibit that launched Nov. 12 with work by artists like Charles McGee, Alison Saar, and Romare Bearden. No cost with museum admission. Detroit Film Theatre, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org

MLK Day Annual Celebration

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History kicks off its celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. at 8 a.m. with a ticketed breakfast and an invocation by Rev. Nicholas Hood III of Plymouth United Church of Christ. The event also features live music, and a keynote speech on King by Earl Lewis, a professor at the University of Michigan. The rest of the day follows with family-friendly activities — including face painting, youth discussions, and film showings — throughout the museum. $15+ for the ticketed breakfast events; no cost for museum events from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren St. Detroit; 313-494-5800; thewright.org 

Not In Our Town: When Hate Happens Here

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day program, taking place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m, will feature a screening of documentaries about hate crimes. Afterward, Troy Police Chief Frank Nastasi will lead a discussion, reflecting on his own thoughts on how to promote peace and tolerance in the community. The event is suitable for ages 12 and up. No cost. Troy Police Department, 500 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-524-3300; troyareainterfaithgroup.com

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Special Event

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation welcomes the community to explore the impact of King through hands-on exhibits and its extensive collection of artifacts. Highlights include the Minds on Freedom exhibit, which showcases the contributions by King and other civil rights activists. Guests are also encouraged to walk through the With Liberty and Justice for All exhibit, which touches on the quest for freedom in the civil rights movement and even features the iconic Rosa Parks bus. No cost for admission or events. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.org

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