MLK Day in CLE

December 11, 2014
MLK Day in CLE

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Events & Activities

By: Lexi Hotchkiss,

This January, celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cleveland. Dr. King frequented Cleveland regularly during the 1960s when he visited to promote voter registration and participation, while also supporting the non-violent civil rights movement.

Today, Cleveland honors this great leader and his commitment to community by offering educational programs, commemorative events and free admission to several area attractions.


  • Cleveland Orchestra MLK Day - For 35 years, the Cleveland Orchestra has presented a moving tribute to Dr. King's visions of justice, peace and equality. Today, visitors still enjoy this concert now held at Severance Hall on Sunday, Jan. 18. The powerful event combines the grandeur of the Cleveland Orchestra with the majesty of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Chorus. The event is free of charge, but tickets must be reserved in advance.
  • Cuyahoga Community College 38th Annual Birthday Observance - Held on Sunday, Jan. 18, this moving ceremony has been a tradition in Cleveland since 1977 - six years before the federal government designated a day to honor Dr. King. This moving afternoon ceremony includes speeches, scholarship awards and live musical performances by Richard Smallwood & Orchestra and the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Case Western Reserve University Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration - As one of the most influential MLK Day events in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University's annual celebration offers nearly a week of programming and activities that seek to keep Dr. King's dream alive. The celebration kicks off on Jan. 18 with a student symposium, which will be co-hosted by the United States' Holocaust Memorial Museum. The events conclude on Jan. 23 with a convocation by award-winning journalist, Charlayne Hunter-Gault.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast Celebration - Put on by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Scholarship Committee, this annual breakfast is held at the DoubleTree Downtown-Lakeside on Jan. 19. Among this organization's many achievements, they seek to pass on the legacy of Dr. King to the next generation. Therefore, during the breakfast, the organization awards honors to students and an adult who bring to life Dr. King's ideal of "the beloved community."
  • Hate Crimes in the Heartland: NE Ohio Documentary Premiere Visit the Cleveland Museum of Art on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a special screening of Hate Crimes in the Heartland, a groundbreaking documentary exploring our national conversation on race. The film reveals the extremes of racial tension through the lens of two distinct hate crimes that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921 and 2012. .

Free or Discounted Admission and/or Specials

  • Akron Art Museum - Free admission on Jan. 19. The "Museum on the Mountaintop: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration" features special guided gallery tours and art activities.
  • Children's Museum of Cleveland - Half price admission on Jan. 19. Children of all ages can honor Dr. King by creating the Collaborative Community Peace Quilt, which will later be sewn together and displayed in the museum.
  • Cleveland Botanical Garden - On Jan. 19, the Cleveland Botanical Garden will offer children's crafts inspired by Dr. King (available with regular admission).
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History - Free admission on Jan. 19. Curators will be on hand with displays of fossils and artifacts for hands-on activities, as well as crafts and activities for kids.
  • Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage - Free admission on Jan. 19. The Maltz Museum will offer an insightful discussion, lively performance and children's activities centered around the teachings of Dr. King.
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum - Free admission on Jan. 19. Visitors will experience live performances, attend education programs and participate in family activities that seek to highlight how people use music to create a sense of community.

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