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Happy new year to you and yours! The first Arts and Culture Roundup of the year kicks off with a collection of MLK Day events happening throughout the city. Whether you’re checking out museum exhibits, tuning in to documentaries, volunteering in the neighborhood, or engaging in discussions, now's your chance to integrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s messages and missions into your blueprint and set your year up for growth, change, and impact—whether that be in your community or within yourself.
Celebrating MLK with AAMP
African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia
AAMP has a variety of events coming up this weekend. To start, the museum teams up with Philadelphia Ballet for an afternoon of ballet and African dance classes for children on Saturday from 11am-4pm. Sunday features an artist talk with author and street photographer Jamel Shabazz for a talk on “the creative process.” Monday is free admission, giving visitors a chance to check out their Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia and Vision & Spirit: African American Art exhibits at no cost. An interactive financial literacy activity for families caps Monday afternoon. Folks can also find out about giving and volunteering at the museum, too.
MLK Weekend at the MoAR
Museum of the American Revolution, 101 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia
The MoAR invites you to a weekend full of family-friendly events. Philadelphia Jazz Project will perform Wait Means Never: A Musical Exploration of MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, an “engaging intermingling of spoken word, singing, and instrumental music paying tribute to Dr. King” drawn from King’s 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
Additional events include a first-person theatrical performance portraying the life and experiences of Elizabeth Freeman, the first African American to file and win her freedom from enslavement through a lawsuit; guided tours of the exhibit galleries; a presentation of the story of Polydore Redman, a man of African descent who went on to become a drummer in the Revolutionary War, and more.
Sunday, January 15, 3pm
Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
Sam Pollard’s 2020 documentary details the FBI surveillance that dogged King’s activism, treating him “like an enemy of the state.” The restored footage of King urges us to remember that “true American progress is always hard-won.” The Philadelphia Film Society will host a screening of the illuminating documentary.
Uhuru MLK Day Philly
Monday, January 16, 10am-3pm
Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles, 832 North Broad Street, Philadelphia
Join Uhuru for a day of films, presentations, and volunteer opportunities. Starting at 10am, Uhuru will open with historic films of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as screenings of films on Malcolm X, civil rights, and Black Power movements. The morning segues into the afternoon with live drums and spoken word from Karen Smith and Rahnda Rize.
Day of Service at the National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia
The Constitution Center’s Day of Service features a handful of informative events. A reading of the I Have A Dream speech will set the stage for the day. Chanelle N. Rose, a professor of history at Rowan University, will lead the discussion (which will be in-person and online). A family concert from interactive children’s music group Two of a Kind (with composer and educator Rodney Whittenberg), exhibit tours, arts and crafts, and storytelling decorate the rest of the afternoon’s activities.
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