When learning about the historic accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr., cities like Montgomery, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Memphis often surface as important markers in the civil rights activist’s political and personal development. But Dr. King also spent valuable time in New York, including his fieldwork at the First Baptist Church in East Elmhurst, Queens and giving the commencement speech at the City College of New York in 1963. In honor of the profound impact he had on this city and nation, each year on MLK day the city of New York commemorates the hero’s life and actions with a variety of celebratory events.
The Harlem Gospel Choir’s Sony Hall Performance
In 1986, Allen Bailey was inspired to start a new gospel choir after attending a celebration in honor of Dr. King at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Today, the choir is recognized as the most renowned gospel choir in America and a preeminent gospel choir worldwide. Representing a diverse collection of the finest singers and musicians from Harlem’s Black Churches and the Tri-State area, the choir continues to share its message of love and inspiration with every concert and performance. Witness the magic of this choir in person at the MLK Day matinee show at Sony Hall. This talented choir is guaranteed to lift your spirits while paying a loving tribute to its original inspiration.
New York Cares’ Day of Service
Recently, the nonprofit organization New York Cares was awarded a generous federal grant in order to expand its volunteer opportunities surrounding the city’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Fittingly, this year also marks the 25th anniversary of the organization’s Day of Service celebration of the leader’s life and legacy. Over 500 volunteers are expected to participate in completing 14 unique projects designed to meet the needs of the community. Specifically, volunteers can choose from service projects that will support low-income individuals, needy children, seniors, and families.
MLK Weekend at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum
If you’re staying in New York with little ones, MLK Jr Day offers a great opportunity to introduce them to the life and work of this important leader. This year, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (just a twenty-minute cab ride from The Wagner) is presenting a weekend full of kid-friendly events that incorporate the holiday’s themes of diversity, equality, freedom, and resistance. Keep an eye on their website for a detailed program of the weekend’s events.