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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events in Boston

Tell us what this holiday means to you, and how you will celebrate.

Monday, Jan. 21 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For some, the national holiday honoring the prominent civil rights activist is a time to give back and serve the community, be it through removing graffiti or picking up litter in a local park.

For others, it’s an opportunity to educate themselves about King and his life's work. And for others, it’s a time to just kick back and enjoy the long weekend.

Bostonians have access to a full day of events planned to honor his memory, with events throughout the day on Monday in the city.

Time Name Description Location 10am Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House Join in for a day of celebration with free admission for all. Highlights include films, art-making, activities, and live performances throughout the Museum.  Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
1pm Lyrics: Boston University’s Annual Commemoration of MLK Day Boston University's annual MLK Day Commemoration includes a provocative look at the lyrics and language surrounding civil rights and social justice. University faculty, staff and students will present spoken word, short talks and dramatic pieces on how words in all of their forms have touched civil rights and how Dr. King’s words leave a legacy that touch our every day.

Boston University’s annual ceremony is one of the largest and oldest in the City of Boston. It routinely draws over 1000 attendees from throughout the community. 

Dr. King is an alumnus of the University.
Metcalf Ballroom
775 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
1 pm A Day of Service and Celebration in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of African-American History and the Mayor's Office are combining to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. in spoken word and music.  Faneuil Hall  2pm Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert This concert is the embodiment of Dr. King’s dream: that young people of all colors can transcend racial barriers to share their gifts and talents. Join the singers at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street in Boston where they will perform a tribute concerts at 2 p.m. (Tickets are $15.) NEC's Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St
Boston, MA 02115
7pm Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert The second performance of the tribute concert is at 7 p.m. (Tickets are $25, $35 and $45.)  NEC's Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St
Boston, MA 02115

The Holiday's History
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now a U.S. holiday, took 15 years to create.

Legislation was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) four days after King was assassinated in 1968.

The bill was stalled, but Conyers, along with Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York), pushed for the holiday every legislative session until it was finally passed in 1983, following civil rights marches in Washington. 

Then-president Ronald Reagan signed it into law. Yet it was not until 2000 that every U.S. state celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by its name. Before then, states like Utah referred to the holiday more broadly as Human Rights Day. 

Now, the Corporation for National and Community Service has declared it an official U.S. Day of Service.

TELL US: What does MLK Day mean to you? What are you doing to commemorate his memory? Tell us in the comments.

Kwum January 21, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Dr Rev Martin Luther King,Jr. Though you are no longer with us in the flesh I humbly thank you for your Heroic sacrifice to challenge America to live up to its own ideals ..During your exemplary yet tragically brief lifetime, you embodied everything that the nation upholds as patriotic:Freedom, Equality, and Justice ..for ALL. As a child I could not fully grasp your unwaveringly nobility and incredulous patience in the face of grotesque hateful resistance.. The world was witness to you steadfastly keeping your eye on the Prize ..moving forward boldly and unwavering in the face evil, bigotry and hatred.. You championed the cause of the downtrodden and victims of injustice and all those who had no voice in this country and ultimately gave your life to that cause. Your empathy and living out your ideals and convictions are what the are what we as a nation should aspire to. You legacy will forever endure in the spirit of this nation and the world at large. Know that you are so very loved, admired, and cherished evermore. rip Martin.

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