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Things to Do in Dallas

Where to Celebrate Martin Luther King Day in Dallas

Parades, festivals, and performances throughout Dallas will celebrate the memory of the great civil rights leader.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 18. Parades, festivals, and performances throughout Dallas will celebrate the memory of the great civil rights leader — Honoring his accomplishments and discussing the work that still needs to be done. Here are a few ways to mark the holiday.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center has a full weekend planned, with a celebration fair, a civil rights museum open house, and a candle-lighting ceremony on Jan. 15.

At the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition at the Majestic Theatre on Jan. 15, elementary school students speak in response to the topic: “What would Martin Luther King Jr. say on the campaign trail if he was running for president this year?” Some of the smartest young minds in Dallas (and Houston) will pay tribute to one of the greatest orators in U.S. history in this competition. The finals begin at 11 am.

The Black Academy of Arts and Letters presents the Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert at the Meyerson on Jan. 17. This annual tribute honors King and the civil rights movement through music and performance. Soul singer Tony Terry and Rahsaan Patterson feature in this year’s program.

This year, there will be just one Martin Luther King Day parade, which begins at 10 am on Jan. 18. The route runs along MLK Boulevard, starting at Holmes Street and winding up at Fair Park. A festival, centered around Fair Park’s Automobile Building, will follow.

At this year’s MLK Symposium (Jan. 18 at City Performance Hall) the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture marks the holiday with a program that focuses on King’s accomplishments and the modern civil rights movement. Speakers include the excellent writer Teju Cole, along with performances by Dallas artists. One highlight should be the performance of an excerpt from the MLK play The Mountaintop, a powerful work that had an incredible run courtesy of the Dallas Theater Center last year.

On Jan. 18, the Alamo Drafthouse will screen Selma, the acclaimed film about King’s civil disobedience campaign in Alabama circa 1965, and the civil rights march on Montgomery. It’s a wonderful movie, and manages to portray the human side of a man who became a legend.