The Children's Museum of Atlanta celebrates Dr. King.

Things to Do for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Atlanta

January is the month when Atlanta celebrates the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, Atlanta is proud of the civil rights leader and his deep association with our city every day.  While we all try to live by his principles, January is when the world focuses its attention on his legacy. Here in Atlanta there are several ways to honor him, including a visit to The King Center and many civil rights landmarks along Auburn Avenue. Here are more things to do.

The King Center

The King Center celebrates the Beloved Community in honor of Dr. King.

The King Center plans a number of activities including the Beloved Community Awards on Jan. 14, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The King Holiday Observance Kick-off Reception occurs from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 10, 2023, in the Freedom Hall Atrium on Auburn Avenue. The Beloved Community Virtual Youth Book Reading and Puppetry Presentation happens Jan. 11, 2023, at 10 a.m. The Beloved Community Global Youth Summit is set for 10 a.m. until noon (online) Jan. 12, 2023. The Beloved Community Global Summit is planned for noon to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2023, and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 13, 2023.

Georgia Tech MLK Lecture

Georgia Tech will commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during events organized by faculty, staff and students. Tech’s 2023 MLK celebrations will include the 12th Annual MLK Lecture from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2023, featuring Eddie Glaude Jr.,  James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the department of African American Studies at Princeton University. The lecture will occur at the Exhibition Hall Midtown Ballroom.

Ebenzer Baptist Church

Ebenezer Baptist Church will hold an ecumenical service on Jan. 16, 2023. The service is sponsored by The King Center for Nonviolence.

Hands On Atlanta

Hands On Atlanta volunteers celebrate Dr. King’s birthday by helping the community. (Photo courtesy Hands On Atlanta)

Hands on Atlanta plans several events to celebrate and keep the spirit of Dr. King alive with opportunities to volunteer and help others. The nonprofit will participate in the King Holiday Observance Kick-off Reception with music and fellowship at Freedom Hall Atrium from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 10, 2023. The next day, Jan. 11, 2023, starts the week of service, and there are a number of nonprofits that could use assistance. Among them are the City Bridges Food Pantry, Aglanta (beautification projects) and the distribution of fresh produce to Grady Hospital patients.

The 2023 Hands On Atlanta MLK Sunday Supper at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights occurs Jan. 15, 2023, from 5 until 8 p.m., and MLK Day at the Atlanta History Center and Community Commemorative Service at The King Center are set for Jan. 16 and 17, 2023, respectively.

Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center commemorates Dr. King’s legacy from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Jan. 16, 2023, with a variety of public activities including civil rights-themed trivia, crafts, choir performances, Freedom Rider simulations on an authentic 1952 Greyhound bus and panel discussions. Making the experience more accessible, admission is free, and online pre-registration is encouraged.

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

Children’s Museum of Atlanta welcomes families to spend the weekend of Jan. 14, 2023, through Jan. 16, 2023, remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learning about his dream for a better world. Among the things to do are the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration parade, birthday song and fun facts. The celebration continues with children creating birthday cards and a dream mobile in honor of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

On Jan. 16, 2023, children are invited to step into the Morph Gallery to wish Dr. King a happy birthday, share with him their ideas to help the world or tell him, on the Dream Collaborative Mural, what they would do together if he was their best friend. Children also will plant a seed at the tree of change with guest artist Martelle Belle.

HBCU Culture Homecoming Fest and Battle of the Bands

The HBCU Culture Homecoming Fest and Battle of the Bands is planned for Jan. 15 and 16, 2023, at State Farm Arena. There will be drumline battles and mass band performance as well as basketball games featuring Southern University, Jackson State University, Miles College, Talladega College, Alabama A&M and Alabama State University.

Free Admission to National Parks

To honor Dr. King, all national parks, including Atlanta’s Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park offer free entry on Jan. 16, 2023.

To learn more about Dr. King and the civil rights movement, visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Find out more about Atlanta’s civil rights history.

Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications. 

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