Martin Luther King, Jr. set a standard of service to civil rights and peace that few people believe they can achieve. Equitable laws were passed and opportunities opened up to people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and both genders. Advances made in a span of 12 years were incredible and deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize that he received in 1964.
King also received tremendous support from Philadelphians throughout his ministerial career and social activism. Here, he found family friends, church homes, fellow advocates and financial backing, so much support that Coretta Scott King authorized the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc., established by the late C. DeLores Tucker in 1983 to keep dreams alive in this city.
Sweat equity and donations provided to King’s civil rights efforts from 1955 until his death in 1968 demonstrate what can be accomplished when the people of Greater Philadelphia pull together for better communities. Folks can kick off a year of service locally with memorials and fundraisers, performances and family fun, and, above all, volunteerism that honors King’s distinguished legacy. Some local celebrations are listed here. Please check with organizers for updates.
Friday, Jan. 18 – Sunday, Feb. 17: The Philadelphia Theatre Company presents the award winning play, “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall. Patricia McGregor directs the 2-person ensemble featuring Sekou Laidlow and Amirah Vann in the production's Philadelphia premiere at the Suzanne Roberts Theater, 480 So. Broad Street at the corner of Lombard Street in Center City Philadelphia. This show unveils an imaginative version of the last night of Martin Luther King, Jr’s life. It previews on Jan. 18 and opens Wednesday, Jan. 23 with regular performances taking place Tuesdays – Sundays. Tickets start at $46. For more information, visit www.philadelphiaheatrecompany.org or call 215.985.0420.
Saturday, Jan. 19: Lotsa Helping Hands ask you to be a part of National Day of Service by making a promise to help a caregiver. This website just launched The Year of the Helping Hands, a call to make helping caregivers a priority in 2013. Visit www.lotsahelpinghands.com or click here to register.
Saturday, Jan. 19 - Monday, Jan. 21: MLK Day of Service at Johnson's Recreation Center located at 4740 Woodland Avenue in West Philadelphia. Volunteers are being sought to distribute flyers in Southwest Philly to promote MLK Day on Saturday and Sunday. Join State Senator Anthony Williams and State Representative Jordan Harris along with community partners to clean and paint the recreation center at 48th and Woodlawn. There will be community safety literature tables and refreshments. For more information, visit http://www.senatoranthonyhwilliams.com/ or call Rasheen Crews at 215.492.2980.
Saturday, Jan. 19: The Dream Studio, join us Saturday to share your hopes and aspirations in writing, then learn how to translate your favorites into a short animation sequence that will be used in a collaborative film project. The event is free and for youth ages 7 - 13. The Village, Spells Writing Lab, and Cred Magazine host this event to honor MLK Day from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at CRED OnSite, 325 South Street in South Philadelphia or 2526 No. Adler Street in North Philadelphia. Obtain details about the workshops at http://phillyspells.org/the-dream-studio/. Register at Spells Writing Lab by clicking here http://phillyspells.org/programs/register/.
Sunday, Jan. 20 – Monday, Jan. 21: The NAACP salutes King’s birthday with the Annual Ecumenical Prayer Service. This year’s event is held in Zion Baptist Church located at 3600 No. Broad Street in North Philadelphia from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Special appearances include Rev. A Carl Prince of Zion Baptist Church, Rev. J. Louis Felton of Mt. Airy C.O.G.I.C., Grand Master Murphy J. Keller III of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Pa., and the Philadelphia Boys Choir. Mt. Zion is sponsoring a free dinner on MLK Day for which reservations are required. E-mail RSVs to email@example.com. For more information about the Ecumenical Prayer Service, visit http://www.zionphilly.org/.
Monday, Jan. 21: 18th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, the largest event in the nation, invites the residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to volunteer as individuals or in groups on Monday morning. Volunteers will be matched to more than 1,200 projects. Let this be the start of volunteering throughout the year. Learn more at www.mlkdayofservice.org or call 215.851.1811 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, Jan. 21: Martin Luther King Day of Service presents the 2nd Annual Jobs & Opportunity Fair from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Hum Building at Girard College, 2100 So. College Avenue in North Philadelphia. This fair offers face-to-face job screenings and interviews with employers seeking to fill vacant positions, job readiness workshops to spruce up resumes and interviewing skills, and support services, such as income tax assistance, credit repair, and access to public benefits. Veterans can find special workshops about available resources. Entrepreneurs can learn how to start a business. Preregistration is required. For more information, visit www.wdasfm.com/common/jobfair. Girard College also serves as headquarters for the Martin Luther King Day of Service programs in the city.
Monday, Jan. 21: Martin Luther King, Jr’s Birthday Celebration: A Day On Not a Day Off kicks off at 9:00 a.m. and runs through 3:00 p.m. at Saint Joseph’s University, 5600 City Avenue in West Philadelphia. This is a free event that invites people to roll up their sleeves in service, as well as enjoy plenty of the entertainment from the Williams Sisters, Enon Tabernacle Choir with the Rev. Alyn Waller, Evelyn Graves Ministries and Drama Productions, The Brockington Ensemble, Little Sammy and the New Flying Clouds, Charlene Holloway, Tamika Patton, Annette Hardeman, former beauty queen and praise dancer Shayna Rudd and more. For more information, visit http://www.sju.edu/int/resources/community/mlk.html or https://www.facebook.com/events/324479874331735/ or call 610.660.1000.
Monday, Jan. 21: The Somerset Neighbors for Better Living asks local residents to pitch in and help beautify their neighborhood. Meet at Frankford and Tusculum from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Snack and refreshments will be provided for volunteers. For more information, visit http://www.sustainable19125.org/wordpress/ or contact Angela Taurino at email@example.com or call 215.427.0350 ext. 125.
Monday, Jan. 21: The National Constitution Center celebrates 2 civic holidays in one, Inauguration Day and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with free admission courtesy of PwC. The center joins the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service with quilting and sewing projects that benefit the Women Against Abuse shelter, live performances, and crafts from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. From 10:30 – 2:00 p.m., families can sing along with Two of a Kind’s interactive performances. At 1:00 p.m., local college students and actors will read King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. A Unity Choir will perform a range of music from gospel to Jewish folk tunes at 3:00 p.m. More programs are available for the public’s enjoyment, including watching the presidential inauguration on screens throughout the museum. For additional information, visit www.constitutioncenter.org or call 215.409.6700.
Monday, Jan. 21: The National Museum of American Jewish History presents free MLK Day from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. From 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Your Words in Color gives visitors the opportunity to work alongside Philadelphia muralists Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez as they turn "your" words into colorful art. The 11:00 a.m. discussion with filmmaker Steve Fischler is followed by a screening of his documentary “From Swastika to Jim Crow” at 2:00 p.m. The film inspired the special exhibit now showing at the museum: “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges.” Learn more at www.nmajh.org by clicking on the word "calendar" or call 215.923.3811.
Monday, Jan. 21: The Franklin Institute will play Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from the 1963 March on Washington every hour on the hour. Visitors can join the African American Scientists Scavenger Hunt scavenger hunt, the activity table, and take part in creating a wall of dreams with hands-on arts and craft. For additional information, visit http://www2.fi.edu/ or call 215.448.1200.
Monday, Jan. 21: The African American Museum in Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Foundation presents Sharing the Heritage: Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Commemoration & Day of Service free from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visitors are asked to donate canned goods for the ChAAMP’s Against Hunger Philabundance Food Drive and donate items for decorating and stuffing care packages for the Red Cross House, the Guardenzia House Winner’s Program, and My Brothers House. Go and enjoy an entertainment-filled event. There will be “Trailblazers to Freedom Traveling Trunk” presentations, the core “Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876” exhibit, a break dance workshop from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., face painting with Mlanjeni Magical Theater, and the Community Celebration with a variety of performances from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visitors may pick up free timed tickets at the welcome table starting at 12:30 p.m. The tickets, good for 1 hour at the Community Celebration, are required. For more information, visit www.aampmuseum.org or call 215.574.0380.
Monday, Jan. 21: 31st Annual Awards and Benefit Luncheon supports work of the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association, Inc., which coaches local children in academic excellence and civic and life preparedness, mentors and more. This fundraiser, held at the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia Hotel located at 17th and Race Streets in Center City Philadelphia, begins at 12:30 p.m. It honors Queen Mother Falaka Fattah, founder and CEO of the House of Umoja; Work to Ride, the interscholastic national championship polo program; and Kathy Salty who introduced the STEM program to inner city youth through the association’s College for Teens program. The National Bell Ringer and other honorees are yet to be announced. Admission is starts at $85 per person and sponsorship ranges from $300 - $60,000. Learn more at http://www.philadelphiamlk.org/ or call 215.751.9300.
Monday, Jan 21: “Remembering the Dream in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 – 1968” is hosted by the Cliveden. This free event features Serena Sol Brown and The Sol Unlimited Orchestra directed by William Douglas and complimentary refreshments from Little Jimmie’s Bakery Café from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at 6401 Germantown Avenue in northwest Philadelphia. Learn more at http://cliveden.org/ or call 215.848.1777.
Monday, Jan. 21: The Philadelphia Orchestra is performing its 22nd free annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert. Doors open at 3:15 p.m and the musical interlude begins at 4:00 p.m. This takes place at Martin Luther King High School 6100 Stenton Avenue in northwest Philadelphia. The orchestra is joined by the School District of Philadelphia’s All City Choir. Click here to reserve a seat and learn more.
Monday, Jan. 21: Join the free launch of Groundswell on MLK Day of Service from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Arden Theatre, 40 No. 2nd Street in Old City Philadelphia. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance teams with the Arden Theatre, With Art Philadelphia, Art-Reach, and First Person Arts to celebrate this new grassroots civic movement. Hear music, have good eats, experience stories about how arts and culture improve communities, share your stories at the open mic, and enjoy interactive art-making activities, theater games, and improv from the Groundswell Players. For more details, click here.
Tuesday, Jan. 29: 2013 Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service Project Coordinator’s Appreciation Breakfast from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. is hosted by the United Way Southeastern Pennsylvania at 1207 Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia in appreciation to official event coordinators. Enjoy free breakfast treats and be prepared to share words of wisdom, stories, and feedback from your experience. RSVP by Monday, Jan. 25 to 215.851.1811. Share MLK Days photos by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit http://kingdaythankyoubreakfast.eventbrite.com.