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Many ways to celebrate MLK Day

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Many ways to celebrate MLK Day
Boston Children's Chorus. COURTESY PHOTO

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful civil rights legacy at these events happening in Boston this weekend.

Unveiling of the ‘Embrace’ memorial

Architect’s rendering of “The Embrace.”

When: Friday, January 13, 1 p.m.
Where: Boston Common
Cost: Free
The King family and local leaders will gather on the Boston Common for the unveiling of the “Embrace” memorial. Designed by artist Hank Willis Thomas, the memorial commemorates the legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King and their time in Boston.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. at Roxbury Heritage State Park

When: Saturday January 14–Sunday, January 15
Where: Roxbury Heritage State Park Dillaway-Thomas House
Cost: Free
Enjoy a special tour of the Dillaway-Thomas House focusing on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his time in Roxbury and his civil rights work, including the 1965 March from Roxbury to the Boston Common. A reading and collage program for children will also be offered.

Visit the ‘Roxbury Love Story’ mural

When: Anytime
Where: 431 Melnea Cass Blvd.
Cost: Free
Visit ProBlak’s “Roxbury Love Story” mural for an artistic homage to Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King and their early days of courting here in Boston.


MFA Boston MLK Day Open House

When: Monday, January 16, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: Museum of Fine Arts
Cost: Free admission for Massachusetts residents
Celebrate King’s legacy with free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, live artmaking events, music from Dorchester native DJWhySham, artist talks and more. Free tickets are available in person on a first-come, first-served basis.

Boston Children’s Chorus performs “Becoming King.” PHOTO: BOSTON CHILDREN’S CHORUS

‘Becoming King’ tribute concert

When: Monday, January 16, 4 p.m.
Where: Symphony Hall
Cost: $15-$75
Join the Boston Children’s Chorus and guest artists Zakiyyah, Renese King and Rev. Mariama White-Hammond for a stirring tribute concert honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work. The program includes compositions by Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Kirk Franklin, Craig Hella-Johnson, Mark Hayes and more.

Hear Her Sing for Freedom

When: Friday, January 13–Monday January 16
Where: Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge and online
Cost: Pay-what-you-can
Watch a film highlighting the work of Coretta Scott King. In the film, Natasha Ellis performs one of Scott King’s Freedom Concerts, showing contemporary audiences what it would have been like to attend one.

MLK Day free admission at the ICA

When: Monday, January 16, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
Cost: Free
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., admission to ICA Boston will be free all day on Monday. Catch a look at soon-to-close exhibits like “Jordan Nassar: Fantasy and Truth” and “Rose B. Simpson: Legacies.” Advance timed-entry tickets are required.

Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert

When: Monday, January 16, 1 p.m.
Where: Faneuil Hall
Cost: Free
Young musicians from BYSO’s Intensive Community Program will perform classical and spiritual compositions that speak to the work of Martin Luther King Jr. Remarks, readings and spoken word will punctuate the event, including words from visual activist and artist L’Merchie Frazier, keynote speaker.

Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast

When: Monday, January 16, 9 a.m.
Where: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and livestream online
Cost: $0-$50

With the theme “Reclaiming Our Rights: Education and Activism,” the 53rd Annual MLK Memorial Breakfast brings together political and community leaders to speak on the civil rights leader’s important work. This year’s keynote speaker is New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

When: Monday, January 16, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Cost: Free
Enjoy free admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as well as a day of programs centering the themes of justice, equity, art and empowerment. From an artist town hall to interactive sign-making and a musical story hour, there are many hands-on ways to pay tribute to King. Advance timed-entry tickets are required.