ml kingThis Martin Luther King Day, celebrate the history and the power of change at these family-friendly events.

Celebrate With Song

There are several musical tributes reflecting on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

In the Downtown Dallas Arts District, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center will celebrate with powerful film footage, narration, music and dance, as a part of its 29th Annual Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert. The concert features multi-Grammy and Stellar award winner CeCe Winans. The tribute begins at 7:30 on Sunday, Jan. 15.

In Atlanta, take the family to honor the MLK legend with music by another legend. At the A King Celebration with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m., in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Atlanta Symphony’s tribute concerts to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma will take the stage. The concert is performed annually at Dr. King’s alma mater (Morehouse College), and for the first time, it will take place at Atlanta Symphony Hall, with Robert Spano conducting.

In Winchester, Massachusetts, the whole family can sway and hum to music by Guy Mendilow, whose band was voted Boston’s Best World Music Act in the Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll 2011 at the The Winchester Multicultural Network and the Family Action Network “Songs Around the World,” concert. After the show, family members can join in the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday with a display of art and writing by Winchester schoolchildren, a book fair, craft activities and refreshments. The show starts at 3 p.m. on Jan. 16.

Museum Events for Families

In Washington, DC, the Three-Day Family Festival: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Event at The American History Museum honors the memory of Dr. King from Saturday, January 15 through Monday, January 17. Activities include the American History Museum’s award-winning interactive play Join the Student Sit-Ins, which invites visitors to take the role of protesters during the sit-in movement that began at the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth’s Lunch Counter in February of 1960. The powerful words of Dr. King are brought to life in the dramatic reading of his last speech, To the Mountaintop in the museum’s Flag Hall. Families are also invited to share their thoughts on what America has achieved in providing civil rights to all and on the challenges our nation still faces during the “Lift Your Voice” program. Free. American History Museum, 10:00 – 5:30.

In Baltimore, attend the “I Have a Dream Weekend,” at Baltimore’s Port Discovery Children’s Museum on January 14 – 16. Families can honor the life and CivilRightsMemorialwork of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by creating a square for the Peace Quilt created by the Baltimore African American Quilters; meet players from Negro League Baseball; meet famous African-Americans portrayed by students from the Northwood Elementary African American Living History Museum and sing Happy Birthday to Martin Luther King, Jr. with The Kindersinger. 

In Houston, Texas, spend the day at the Children’s Museum of Houston’s MLK Day Peace Rally. At noon, kids can march through the museum in celebration of freedom of speech. Exhibits on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life will also be open.

Families in the Midwest can celebrate the day with free admission to the largest children’s museum in the world, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be storytelling on the Civil Rights Movement, family games about Dr. King, musical performances, a screening of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and an MLK quilt activity that promotes the ideals of equality. Several other museums and attractions around Indianapolis also are offering free admission on MLK Day, including: The Indianapolis Zoo, the Indiana State Museum and the IMAX Theatre.

Serve in the Spirit of Dr. King

Spend Martin Luther King Day making a difference while volunteering together at several Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Events. Volunteer in the Golden Gate National Parks by helping grow and restore the national parklands. All ages can get in on the fun of digging, planting and cleaning up California’s beaches and forestlands on Jan. 16. 

The National Children’s Museum’s Launch Zone in New Harbor, Maryland, is hosting a Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day of Service Event for families. Children can make their own “I Have a Dream…Catcher,” and participate in a “Valentines for Veterans,” service project in honor of Dr. King’s commitment to Service on January 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To find a service event on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend in your area go to mlkday.gov.