Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Los Angeles
Celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. The holiday is observed on the third Monday in January of each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. Dr. King was a key figure and spokesman in the Civil Rights Movement. He received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
Read on for a guide to Los Angeles events that celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The following MLK Day events take place on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 unless otherwise noted.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration - CAAM (Jan. 20, 2020)
Located in the eastern end of Exposition Park, the California African American Museum (CAAM) exists to research, collect, preserve and interpret the history, art and culture of African Americans. Opened during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, the museum houses a permanent collection of 4,000 objects of art, historical artifacts and memorabilia.
On Monday, Jan. 20 CAAM presents the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Highlights of the free, family-friendly event include:
- Family drop-in art activities King Study Group
- Rock the Vote!
- "Vote or Perish: Fighting for Civil Rights in an Election Year"
- Keynote by Lorrie Frasure
- Youth Speeches: MLK's “Give Us the Ballot”
- Inner City Youth Orchestra: music tribute to MLK and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
35th Annual Kingdom Day Parade (Jan. 20, 2020)
Presented by the Congress Of Racial Equality of California (CORE-CA), the Kingdom Day Parade is regarded as America’s largest celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. With the theme "Equality For All Humanity, Our Next Step" the 35th edition of the parade is taking place on Monday, Jan. 20 beginning at 11 a.m. and will broadcast and live stream on ABC7.
The parade route starts at Western Avenue and runs west along Martin Luther King Boulevard, turns south on Crenshaw Boulevard, then east on Vernon Avenue before it ends at Leimert Park. The post-parade festival at Leimert Park features music, dancing, food and more.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Festival - Leimert Park Village (Jan. 20, 2020)
Taking place in historic Leimert Park Village, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Festival celebrates the Dr. King's legacy with music, art and activism. This year’s theme, "The Future is Now" inspires us to take action and reminds us that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape our country and our neighborhoods starting today. In addition to food, music, and vendors, the festival will also help residents learn more about important issues affecting our communities. The empowerment tent will share information on the upcoming US Census and the importance of an accurate count as well as opportunities for jobs and community activism. There's no better way to celebrate the legacy of MLK in South LA!
California Sol - Upstairs at Ace Hotel (Jan. 20, 2020)
Presented by Motown On Mondays L.A., California Sol is a rooftop soirée taking place at Upstairs at Ace Hotel from 4pm-10pm. Featuring DJ sets from MOM LA and Subsuelo, spinning originals, remixes, re-edits, and cover versions of Motown, Soul, Funk, Disco, Breaks, Afro, Latin sounds, and more.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service - Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area (Jan. 18, 2020)
Held the third Monday of every January, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off."
On Saturday, Jan. 18 join Mujeres de la Tierra, the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, Baldwin Hills Conservancy, Los Angeles Audubon, Sierra Club and North East Trees for the 6th annual MLK Day of Service at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. Taking place from 8am - 1pm, the event includes restoration and beautification projects for all ages, tree planting, breakfast and more. Don't forget to wear comfortable and sturdy shoes. Work gloves are encouraged, and please bring your reusable water bottle. Parking fee will be waived for all volunteers, be sure to mention you're volunteering at the entrance!
"Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical" - Feinstein's at Vitello's (Jan. 20, 2020)
Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical tells the story of the real-life Freedom Riders who challenged the status quo of the 1960s by riding interstate buses in mixed racial groups through the South, challenging local laws and customs that enforced segregation. Based on the lives of Diane Nash, Congressman John Lewis, and other riders, Freedom Riders is a soaring portrait of American race relations and a testament to the power of nonviolent direct action in uncovering injustice. Winner of the New York Musical Festival award for Outstanding Music and the Social Relevance and Impact Award.
Freedom Riders will be performed on Monday, Jan. 20 at Feinstein's at Vitello's in Studio City. Doors at 6:30pm, show at 8pm. Tickets are on sale at the Feinstein's website - $25 for General Admission, and $35 for VIP Seating. A $20 minimum per person is required while inside the showroom. Dining in the restaurant or at any of the bars does not apply to the showroom minimum.
CONTRA-TIEMPO: "joyUS justUS" - The Wallis (Jan. 17-18, 2020)
Since opening its doors in October 2013, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has produced or presented more than 275 dance, theatre, opera, classical music and family programs.
Founded and directed by Ana María Alvarez, Los Angeles-based CONTRA-TIEMPO takes Afro-Latin dance to new heights infusing elements of Salsa, Afro-Cuban, and urban dance styles. joyUS justUS reclaims the dominant deficit-based narrative of people of color in this country and flips it on its head by embodying stories of joy and justice. The two-hour program includes a 15-minute intermission and a post-show audience dance party! Tickets on sale at The Wallis website.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Storytime with Michael D. McCarty - Children’s Book World (Jan. 18, 2020)
Open since 1986, Children’s Book World is a full-service children's bookshop in West Los Angeles, stocking more than 80,000 titles for children, parents, teachers and collectors. Every Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., Children’s Book World presents storytellers, author readings, musical performances and entertainment for kids and families.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, on Saturday, Jan. 18 master storyteller Michael D. McCarty will present a program of stories from African American history and culture that will inform, educate and entertain. Ages 4-104.
Kindness Rocks! - Kidspace Children's Museum (Jan. 18-20, 2020)
Located at Brookside Park in Pasadena, the Kidspace Children's Museum provides 2.2 acres of outdoor learning environments that are designed to encourage children to discover the excitement of learning while engaging in creative play.
This Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, recognize and appreciate kindness at Kindness Rocks! on Friday-Sunday, Jan. 18-20. Share stories of friendship and love on a community tapestry, decorate kindness stones to share with others, and create solutions to help others in our cities and neighborhoods. Special guest Good SamariTots will be at Kidspace with projects to help the community.