Tributes and Commemorations For ‘MLK Weekend’

It took over 30 years to mark Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday.

Since then, “MLK weekend” has memorialized the late civil rights icon’s life and legacy with celebratory events across cities far and wide.

On Sunday, January 5, the world will celebrate King on what would’ve been his 94th birthday.

Ahead of Monday, January 16, the federal observance of the King holiday, annual tributes and commemorative events are expected to occur all weekend long.

This year, CEO Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the legendary reverend, and The King Center in Atlanta are observing MLK Day by harnessing the power of strategic convening and collaborative work.

The schedule of events, which launched Monday, has included a workshop about “Unlearning Biases,” a children’s book reading, a community teach-in, and day one and two of the “Beloved Community Global Summit” for adults and youth to learn how to transform unjust systems in the United States.

“Change can be very small,” King said, per the Associated Press, “but transformation means that now we changed the character, form, and nature of something. That’s something we have not seen yet.”

On Saturday, The King Center, which has named its strategic theme as “Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems,” will also hold an awards show. A community commemorative service will be be accompanied by a day of service on Monday.

On Friday, Boston will witness the dedication of a permanent monument, dubbed “The Embrace” to King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, per WBUR. The event will take place in the city where the Kings first met.

Designed by Black artist Hank Willis Thomas, the two stories high statue symbolizes the hug between the Kings after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964

President Joe Biden is slated to deliver words on Sunday at a commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King became a local pastor in 1960.

On Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton, who served as a youth director of an anti-poverty project of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is continuing his annual commemoration of King with events in Washington, D.C. and New York.

The now-internationally renowned civil rights leader and founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN) is putting on a breakfast gala in Washington earlier that day. He is anticipating the attendance of Martin Luther King III at the gala with his wife, Drum Major Institute President Arndrea Waters King, who will be receiving honors.

Later in the afternoon, Sharpton will attend a public policy forum at the NAN House of Justice in Harlem, which will convene more than 30 city and state elected officials.