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How to Celebrate a Socially-Distanced Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Dallas

There are virtual panels, symposiums and more, bringing the day into your home.
By Reagan Williamson |

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, providing a time to reflect, give back, and donate. Though we might not be able to participate in grand parades or other large-scale events this year, there are still many ways to celebrate a socially-distant or virtual MLK day in Dallas-Fort Worth.

City of Dallas’ 39 Annual MLK Celebration Week

The city of Dallas is hosting its 39th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week, beginning today. A virtual candle-lighting ceremony kicks off the event at 4 p.m. on Friday, followed by an online job fair. It wraps up next Saturday, January 23, with a scholarship and awards gala hosted by WFAA’s Demond Fernandez and Tashara Parker. Cynt Marshall, the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, is the keynote speaker. All events can be livestreamed for free with the exception of the gala, which requires the purchase of a ticket. Check the Martin Luther King Community Center’s page for a full calendar of events and to make a donation to the center.

Black Music and Civil Rights Movement Concert

Reflect on the life of Dr. King with the Black Music and Civil Rights Movement Concert at the Meyerson. The concert, now in its 38th year, weaves narration, music, and dance to tell the compelling stories of the civil rights movement. The performance features Tony and Grammy winner Jennifer Holliday and The Black Academy of Arts and Letters’ 200 voice choir. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling TBAAL’s box office.

Martin Luther King Symposium

Annette Gordon-Reed, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for History, is the keynote speaker for the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture’s Martin Luther King Symposium. The virtual event will feature Gordon-Reed in conversation with other scholars to dissect issues of race and history. The event will also include a Harlem Renaissance poetry reading by actor Jamal Sterling and a performance by Denise Lee, who is a singer as well as the Founder and CEO of Visions for Change. Tickets to the symposium are $15 or free for teachers and students.

Dallas Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation’s Daylong Seminar

The Dallas-based nonprofit welcomes writer Nikole Hannah-Jones on Tuesday, January 19 for a streaming conversation with executive director Jerry Hawkins. Called How We Heal, the other items on the docket include discussions about health equity, education, and criminal justice reform. Register here.

MLK Day of Service

If getting down in the dirt is more your style, Moss Haven Farm’s MLK Day of Service is just the thing. Moss Haven is a farm in North Dallas dedicated to helping students grow an appreciation for the earth, living a healthy lifestyle, and giving back. Anyone is welcome to help prepare the farm for spring planting and spruce up the beds, just bring a mask and a water bottle.

The Fight for Civil Rights in the South

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum’s special exhibit The Fight For Civil Rights in the South is also still available to view virtually or in person. The exhibition is comprised of two major photography collections that capture the march Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led to Montgomery, Alabama, and the Freedom Riders’ peaceful protests as they were met with violence. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for students, or the exhibition can be explored virtually on the museum’s website.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration

Fort Worth’s National Multicultural Heritage Museum gives you the chance to honor Martin Luther King Jr. alongside other pioneers of the civil rights movement. The celebration is a five day event featuring service opportunities, music, and discussion. Drop off canned food and blankets on Saturday, 16th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tune in to streamed R&B, blues, and jazz performances hosted at The Warehouse over the weekend and catch a virtual tribute to Dr. King on Monday the 17. Ticket prices vary for performances, though most are free to stream.

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