Martin Luther King Jr. Day offers opportunities to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King by supporting racial justice causes, giving back to the community, and attending events that reflect his fight for equality and civil rights. Chicago boasts a particular connection with the icon because it was here that he joined the Chicago Freedom Movement and worked to create fair and open housing for Black people. Consider these free events to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Day.
MLK Day Events
Hyde Park Art Center
An Unapologetic Dream: A MLK Day Celebration (Virtual Event)
5020 S. Cornell Ave., 773-324-5520
January 17, 2022, 4 pm-7 pm
In collaboration with the Southside Community Art Center and Arts + Public Life, the Hyde Park Art Center presents a free virtual screening of Chicago filmmaker Ashley O’Shay’s An Unapologetic Dream, an examination of the abolition movement, the police murder of Rekia Boyd, and the election of mayor Lori Lightfoot. Hyde Park Art Center artist Cathleen Campbell’s documentary, Martin Luther King’s Unsung Heroes in Chicago, Resita Cox’s The Black Archive Project: Chicago Uprisings 2020, and poetry readings from Leslie Honore’ will open the program. A discussion with filmmakers Ashley O’Shay, Resita Cox, and Cathleen Campbell will close the event.
RSVP for the virtual event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-unapologetic-dream-a-mlk-day-celebration-tickets-229230323067
Chicago History Museum
Family Event — Martin Luther King Jr. Day
1601 N. Clark St., 312-642-4600
January 17, 2022, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm
Join in a panel discussion, musical performance, poetry and protest song workshop, and a hands-on history presentation in this annual event that honors Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy and activism, particularly in Chicago. This all-ages event is free with museum admission, which is free for Illinois residents for the day. Reservations aren’t required but recommended.
More information and reservations
DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Place, 773-947-0600
The March Virtual Exhibit
Witness the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in an immersive exhibit by Time and executive producer Viola Davis. Experience Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech as well as the personal stories of organizers and marchers who were there. The video also features activists and notables reading excerpts from the speech and drawing parallels between the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the global non-violent demonstrations of today. An interactive interview with a civil rights activist is another exhibit highlight. Experience the exhibit here.
Resistance at Sea Online Exhibit
Discover the rebellions and conditions of over 10 million Africans who were kidnapped and transported to North America between 1526 and the mid-1800s during the transatlantic slave trade. View the exhibit here.
Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League
MLK Day of Service
January 17, 2022, 9 am- 4 pm
Tanner Elementary School, 7350 S. Evans Ave.
Join the Metropolitan Board of the Urban League for a day of service painting, designing murals, and organizing closets at Tanner Elementary School. Refreshments and lunch will be served. Volunteers can stay the entire time or sign up for shift 1 from 9 am-12 pm or shift 2 from 12 pm-4 pm.
Note: Proof of vaccination and masks are required to enter all venues.