10 Community-Based Events To Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2016

Community Celebrates MLK Day Across the Region

Herman Hiller / New York World-Telegram & Sun - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c16775

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Next week, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18th offers families a three-day weekend – a treasure that can be used to catch up on sleep, housework, and homework, or to honor the legacy of Dr. King by engaging in meaningful community-based learning opportunities. Families can take advantage of this special day honoring Dr. King’s work and lasting impact on our country by taking part in community celebrations, giving their time to be part of a day of service, or attending educational screenings and performances. 

For Families and Children

Kick off the long weekend on Saturday, January 16th at the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Community Breakfast hosted by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Amherst. Held at Amherst Regional Middle School, the event begins at 9am (doors open at 8:30), and features not only breakfast, but speakers, live music, and the presentation of awards to notable community members. 170 Chestnut Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates MLK Day early, with special events taking place on Sunday, January 17th from 9:30am-4pm. In addition to the village’s usual opportunities to learn about 18th century life in New England, special presentations of The Story of “Mum Bett” & Her Quest for Freedom will be held at 1pm and 2:30pm. The presentation will focus on abolition and women’s rights, helping young attendees understand the history preceding the context in which the work of Dr. King took place. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

Families can engage in meaningful community service as a way of celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by participating in Northern Berkshire’s 23rd annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 18th. Part of a statewide effort to engage communities in service, the event offers families the opportunity to participate in one of 17 different meaningful service projects, both on the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts campus and within the surrounding community. Families can choose service projects based on interest and experience, and will enjoy a free community lunch in exchange for their participating. Volunteers should arrive at MCLA’s Church Street Center at 9am for registration, and will engage in service projects until 12noon. Community lunch will be held at 12:30pm. 413-664-4036. Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Berkshire Community College will also host a day of service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18th. Volunteers can choose from three different community projects: cooking and serving a community meal, helping with a Habitat for Humanity build, or assisting staff at a community center in running activities for children. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to volunteers, and the event will take place from 9am-2:30pm, beginning with registration at the First United Methodist Church of Pittsfield. 413-236-2177. 55 Fenn Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Greenfield Community College offers free family activities and food in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Held in the college’s dining commons from 10am-1pm on Monday, January 18th, this special event requires families to register by Wednesday, January 13th in order to participate. 413-775-1819. 1 College Drive. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

MLK 2016This year’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration will be held at the Mass Mutual Center on Monday, January 18th from 11am-1pm, featuring live music, dance, spoken word, and more. This year’s event is sub-titled, “Reclaiming the Dream of our Beloved Community,” and aims to not only celebrate the important work of Dr. King but to bring the community together for positive change. 413-732-8428. 1277 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

The Western Massachusetts division of the American Friends Service Committee‘s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration takes place on Monday, January 18th and features learning opportunities for community members of all ages, including a walking tour of historic Florence; a children’s program integrating stories, songs, and activities for peace and justice; and a banner raising to promote the Black Lives Matter movement. Events held as part of the AFSC’s celebration will take place in locations in both Florence and Northampton, beginning at 9am and ending just after 4pm. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

For Teens and Adults

On Sunday, January 17th at 11am, the Norman Rockwell Museum honors Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with an event titled, ”The Pullman Porter: Norman Rockwell’s Boy in Dining Car”. Spotlighting Rockwell’s 1946 Saturday Evening Post cover featuring a young boy and a black porter, the event will speak to the historical significance of black porters in the era of train travel as well as the history behind the cover itself. Brunch will be offered in addition to the presentation. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. ($$)

The Triplex in Great Barrington will screen the documentary Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not be Silent at 11am on Sunday, January 17th. The film spotlights a prominent rabbi who leaves Berlin in the 1930’s and emigrates to America, eventually becoming one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s closest friends. Prinz spoke at the monumental 1963 March on Washington, and is remembered for his belief that in the face of discrimination, silence is worse than any kind of action. 413-528-6378. 70 Railroad Street. Great Barrington, MA. ($)

A screening of the film Selma will take place at The Clark from 2-4pm on Monday, January 18th. The recent film tells the true story of a three-month period in 1965 during which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lead a dangerous but successful campaign to gain equal voting rights. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, the film tells the story of not only the people and events that made up the movement, but of the lasting impact that the campaign left in its wake. The film is rated PG-13. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: Herman Hiller / New York World-Telegram & SunLibrary of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection.]

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