Every year, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the third Monday of January.
In addition to activities taking place on Monday, January 16 (the official observed MLK Day), many institutions are offering expanded opportunities on additional dates.
Come join the celebration of an amazing and impactful life at one of these events:
The Cleveland Orchestra | Jan. 15
With conductor Daniel Reith at the lead, The Cleveland Orchestra presents their free Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Concert at Severance Music Center. The event will also be streamed and broadcast live through Ideastream Public Media.
This year enjoy music by Black composers: Richard Smallwood, Louise Shropshire, and William L. Dawson alongside traditional hymns like Way Over in Beulah Lan’ and Walk Together Children. A performance of Aaron Copland’s tribute to the 16th President of the United States will mark the 80th year since it premiered.
Case Western Reserve University | Jan. 20
Nic Stone, NPR’s Best Books of the Year and New York Times bestselling author will speak at 12:45 p.m. in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Ballroom at the Tinkham Veale University Center on CWRU's campus. The campus celebration continues afterward with workshops, films, and panel discussions.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Ceremony
Hosted by Cleveland Public Library | Jan. 16
The Cleveland Public Library’s 38th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration will be broadcast through partnership with WOIO 19News. The 2023 changemakers and unsung heroes of the community will also be honored at this time. On Jan. 14, tune in at 7 p.m. on WUAB Channel 43. On Jan. 16 at 9 a.m., tune in on channel WOIO Channel 19 or 11 a.m. tune in on WUAB Channel 43. This broadcast will also be shown for Black History Month on February 11 and February 14 at 7 p.m. on WUAB Channel 43.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Jan. 16
Not only is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame offering free admission and free virtual programming but local HipHop and R&B artist Charity Evonna will perform live at 11 a.m. Timed ticket reservations for in-person admission are required. Digital programming includes 2022 Induction Ceremony performances, highlights of exhibits, and film screenings of archival footage.
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage | Jan. 16
This free event hosted by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage will feature an artificial intelligence (AI) event called Interactive Biography with Cleveland civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and audience members can ask questions in real time. His son, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III, is the featured keynote speaker. Galleries will be open for touring and there will be family-friendly activities.
Cleveland Museum of Art | Jan. 16
The theme at Cleveland Museum of Art is “It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems.” Join families, artists, and staff for reflective writing, storytelling, and an Ingalls Library and Museum Archives pop-up. Art activities will take place in the Ames Family Atrium from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Attractions Offering Free Admission | Jan. 16
Greater Cleveland Aquarium | Jan. 16-27
The Greater Cleveland Aquarium and the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland Inc. (UBF) have once again teamed up. From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 to Friday, Jan. 27, the aquarium is hosting Difference-Makers Days and admission is automatically reduced to $14.95 for adults and $8.95 for children ages 2-12. $1 from each ticket will also be donated to UBF.
University Circle Inc. Free Shuttle | Jan. 16
University Circle Inc. will provide a free shuttle bus called CircleLink to take visitors to all MLK Day participating organizations in University Circle. The shuttle will stop at the following locations:
- Center for Arts Inspired Learning
- The Rink at Wade Oval
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- Cleveland History Center
- Cleveland Botanical Garden
- Cleveland Public Library
Dr. King in Cleveland
Let’s also recognize the history that Dr. King has with Cleveland.
He first visited Cleveland in 1956 on the heels of the Montgomery Bus boycott, which marked the first mass-scale protest on behalf of civil rights in the U.S. after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Ala.
Throughout his visits in the '60s, Dr. King would speak with Cleveland crowds at Antioch Baptist Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cory Methodist Church, and Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. Dr. King has attended community meetings and spoken with local leaders in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
He visited Cleveland often during the mayoral campaign of Carl B. Stokes, the first black elected mayor of a major U.S. city. Dr. King continued to work on initiatives related to voter registration, organizing tenant unions, and improving police and citizen relations while visiting Cleveland. One of Dr. King’s last public appearances here was in December of 1967 for a debate at the Cleveland Bar Association.
Cleveland is a part of Dr. King’s story, which is why we celebrate his legacy of service and leadership with a variety of creative programs, service projects, commemorative events, and free admissions to local attractions throughout the city.