5 Local Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events in the Ann Arbor Area

Veterans For Peace: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Views on Militarism as Seen Today

Monday, January 15, 2024

2-4:00 p.m. at the Michigan Union, Room 2011 A&M, 530 South State Street and again from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Main Branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library

Veterans for Peace Members Bob Krzewinski and Bill Shea discuss MLK’s thoughts on Militarism, how they evolved, and think about how King may react to today’s world.

Shea said MLK often claims that the three “giant triplets” threatening the human race are: racism, poverty and militarism.  MLK also, according to Shea, stressed how these “triplets” did not just exist separately, but are deeply connected.

“When examining King’s social activities from the mid-1950s to the mid-60s, we see that issues of racism were the focus of many of his actions in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, throughout the south,” Shea said.  “When King directed his actions on open housing and urban segregation in Chicago from 1965 on, we see his emphasis shifted towards poverty, always noting that these issues were interconnected to racism. In 1967, King addressed the immorality of the Vietnam War and militarism, noting that all three of the triplets must be addressed and alleviated if we are to be a truly fair and just society.”

Shea feels this event is suitable for anyone interested in a more complete view of King’s nonviolent philosophy and how King views militarism and its interconnectedness to racism and poverty, particularly how it manifests itself in today’s society.

“It should be noted although we are not currently at war, the pressure of aiding militaristic agents, be it giving more aid to warring countries or deeply arming local police agencies, the philosophy of Militarism has become as powerful as racism and poverty in America,” Shea said.

Both sessions are free and open to the public, with no registration required.

MLK Children and Youth Program at the University of Michigan School of Education

Monday, January 15, 2024

Pre-Kindergarten-Grade 5: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Grades 6-12: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Marsal Family School of Education, 610 East University Avenue.

This event is dedicated to highlighting issues such as race, class, social justice, diversity and societal change as it connects to K-12 students. The ideals and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King will also be exposed while stressing how to help young people encompass these issues today. The event not only focuses on the events and topics of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s but also connects to pertinent and important topics facing students and communities today. The entire day is a blend of both entertainment and knowledge, but also enriching learning activities that include a great variety and many educational facets.

Over the course of the years that this event has been held, activities have comprised fun, dialogue, and creativity including storytelling, discussions, group projects, skits, rap, poetry and musical performances. The facilitation is by adults, many of whom are professional educators and youth workers, of University of Michigan School of Education affiliates.

Performances will feature Jamall Bufford, Chandler Park Academy Choir, Christine Dixon (Harriet Tubman impersonator), Elizabeth James, Robert Jones Sr., Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and Rockim Williamson.

The event is free but pre-registration is required.

Film Screening: ‘Selma’ Presented by AADL

Monday, January 15, 2024

Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown; Multi-Purpose Room

2:00-4:15 p.m.

While the Civil Rights Act had been passed in 1964 that intended to legally desegregate the South, segregation was still very prevalent in many areas, which in turn created circumstances making it very difficult for African Americans to register to vote in 1965,  In this movie an Alabama city became the battleground for the fight for suffrage. Dr. Marin Luther King Junior (played by David Oyelowa) and his supporters organized an epic and historical march from Selma to Montgomery. Due to their efforts, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965,

40th Annual Martin Luther King Junior Brunch Celebration

Saturday, January 13, 2024

DoubleTree by Hilton Ann Arbor North, Plymouth Road

11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Ann Arbor Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (NANBPBWC) salutes Dr. King’s memory and legacy in this annual event. Friends, family, community members, and leaders come together to honor the legacy of MLK and his work for equality and justice.

The event includes a full brunch that features breakfast foods and more. The keynote speaker is Victoria Burton Harris who is the Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Washtenaw County. There will also be entertainment on hand, certain to get everyone into the groove and dancing featuring the incredible Alice King Experience (which is a Motor City, Detroit Band). There will be a silent auction as well as a few other surprises promised.

Throughout the years, donations to this event and others has provided over 186 scholarships for accomplished high school students and to establish an endowment at Washtenaw Community College, ranging from students starting their careers to returning students to adult learning.  The Ann Arbor Club also collaborates with other area community groups to further education opportunities and other positive impacts that make a difference in people’s lives.

Tickets may be purchased here:

5th Annual “Freedom Songs Sing-Along”

Monday, January 15

Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Ann Arbor

3-5 p.m.

People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to this special event honoring Martin Luther King, Jr Day. Natasha Allen, Crystal Harding, Steve Somer and the Ypsilanti Youth Choir lead everyone in a Sing-Along featuring the songs of the Civil Rights Movement. Following the singing, there will be “Voting Rights Through Time: An Immersive Workshop for Children and Families.”

The event is free, but registration is online.

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