MLK Day 2018
Cleveland remembers the Civil Rights leader's legacy with service projects and cultural events
By Annie Zaleski, Image by Larry E. Highbaugh, Jr.
Every year, the city of Cleveland celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2018, these commemorative events might have a more solemn tone, as the year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. However, as always, Clevelanders will gather to celebrate his legacy and impact on history, and remember him with service projects, cultural programs and commemorative events.
In addition to activities taking place on Jan. 15 (the official observed MLK Day), many institutions are offering expanded opportunities on additional dates. Come remember and celebrate an amazing life at one of these events:
City Year Cleveland: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Monday, Jan. 15
Each year, AmeriCorps members and other volunteers head out into local communities and work on service projects. City Year Cleveland's website has more details, including how to get involved. The website, Points of Light, also has volunteer opportunities sorted by zip code.
Case Western Reserve University: MLK Convocation, Jan. 19
The keynote speaker of Case Western Reserve University's 2018 MLK Convocation is New York Times Magazine staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who's also a 2017 MacArthur Fellow. Hannah-Jones will speak at 12:30 p.m. in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Ballroom at the Tinkham Veale University Center on CWRU's campus. Details about other events marking the university's annual MLK Celebration—including a Student Symposium—are coming soon.
Cleveland Public Library, Martin Luther King Jr. Branch and others, Jan. 15
The Cleveland Public Library’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration is held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Branch (1962 Stokes Blvd., Cleveland), which boasts a robust collection related to African-American history and the Civil Rights Movement. Various other branches within the CPL system also host MLK-dedicated programming. Check the library calendar of events for updates.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Jan. 15
Not only is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame offering free admission during regular hours, but visitors can also expect a variety of special activities and features—including film screenings; educational programs about the music that shaped the Civil Rights movement and Cleveland's rich soul/R&B history; and the ability to make protest signs in conjunction with Upcycle Part Shop. Browns DJ Ryan Wolf will be on the decks all day providing tunes. (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
Eighteenth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast Celebration, Jan. 15
This annual breakfast—co-chaired by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame CEO/President Greg Harris and Dr. JaNice Marshall, the Associate Vice President of Access & Community Engagement for Cuyahoga Community College—features a keynote from Bishop F. Josephus Johnson, II, pastor at The House of the Lord, and recognition of the 2018 Class of MLK Holiday Scholars. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cleveland Downtown, 1111 Lakeside Ave.
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
The Greater Cleveland Aquarium and the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland Inc. (UBF) are teaming up for a community fund- and friend-raiser. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, anyone who chooses to donate $1 or more to UBF, a grant-making organization that provides financial assistance to agencies that both empower and address challenges facing Greater Cleveland’s African-American community, receives same-day discounted $10 Aquarium admission.
Karamu House, Jan. 15
On MLK Day itself, Karamu House (2355 East 89th St., Cleveland)—an institution dedicated to inclusive art education, theater and community-driven programs—will be hosting a day of service. Details will be available soon at the Karamu House website.
Cleveland Orchestra, Jan.-February 2018
The Cleveland Orchestra is planning multiple special concerts and community events honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In Jan., the MLK Celebration Chorus and the orchestra (conducted by Franz Welser-Möst) is presenting a free Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert on Jan. 14 at Severance Hall that's being billed as a "memorable program celebrating diversity and honoring local leaders who strive to make positive changes in our community."
On the actual observed holiday, Jan. 15, Severance Hall will open its doors for free community performances, which have typically included music, dance and other art forms. And, in February, the Cleveland Orchestra is performing the educational concert “Civil Rights: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” for area students. The concert tells the life story of the civil rights leader via music and dramatic elements. Performances take place at Severance Hall on Feb. 6, 7 and 9, and Feb. 8 in Akron.
Free Admissions: Monday Jan. 15
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Great Lakes Science Center, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cleveland History Center, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
University Circle Inc. Free Shuttle
University Circle Inc. will provide a free shuttle bus to take visitors to all MLK Day participating organizations in University Circle. The shuttle will run from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and will stop at the following locations:
Western Reserve Historical Society
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Severance Hall (The Cleveland Orchestra)