Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events in Boston

From the 45th annual Memorial Breakfast to the MFA's Open House, here are nine ways to celebrate King's legacy this year.

45th Annual Memorial Breakfast

The country’s longest-running Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance event takes place each year in Boston. The breakfast comes with engaging speeches and musical performances, with notable attendees including Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and more. This year’s keynote speaker is civil rights pioneer and president of Voorhees College, Dr. Cleveland Sellers.

$50, Monday, January 19, 8 a.m., Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, mlkbreakfastboston.org.

Performance at Faneuil Hall

If you aren’t in a position to fork over $50 for breakfast, stop by Faneuil Hall instead, where Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy will be honored with a special musical performance. In the afternoon, the Boston Youth Symphony will perform the “Day of Service and Celebration Tribute Concert,” presented in collaboration with the Museum of African American History, and the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events.

Free, Monday, January 19, 1 p.m., Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, faneuilhallmarketplace.com.

Open House at the MFA

Every year, the Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hosting special activities related to King and civil rights. The museum will host special tours, activities, and other special programming throughout the day. As it happens, MLK Day also falls on opening weekend of the MFA’s exhibit of photographs by Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated African American artists of his time.

Free, Monday, January 19, 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org.

“Joyful Noise” Concert

Harlem Gospel Choir returns to fill Harvard’s Sanders Theatre for this annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. with soulful music and dancing.

$12+, Saturday, January 17, 7:30 p.m., Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge, harvard.edu.

Museum of African American History

The MAAH’s newest exhibit, “Black Books,” looks at African American history in reading, writing, and publishing. Books on display include David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and published works by Phillis Wheatley.

$5, Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 46 Joy St., Boston, 617-725-0022, afroammuseum.org.

Mount Auburn Cemetery Tour

Volunteer docent Steve Pinkerton will lead a free walking tour of Mount Auburn the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day that highlights notable African Americans buried there.

Free, Sunday, January 18, 1-2:30 p.m., 580 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, mountauburn.org.

“I Have a Dream” Concert

The Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the North End Music and Performing Arts Center will present a special concert at North Bennet Street School.

$15-20, Friday, January 16, 7:30 p.m., North Bennet Street School, 150 North St., Boston, nempacboston.org.

Volunteering

Martin Luther King Jr. Day certainly falls under the umbrella category of a community-oriented holiday, whether that “community” is the entire country or just the local neighborhood. That makes your “day off” a good time to partake in an MLK Day of Service. Check out various opportunities at Boston Cares, Massachusetts Service Alliance, and Many Helping Hands 365.

Chuck D and More Events at Berklee College of Music

Berklee will remember Dr. King with a weeklong celebration with various presentations and performances. The keynote will be delivered by Chuck D of Public Enemy on Friday, January 23, at 7 p.m. See the full lineup of events at berklee.edu.

 


Update, January 16: Added Chuck D event at Berklee.


Yiqing Shao Yiqing Shao, Digital Editor at Boston Magazine bmagdigital+yshao@gmail.com