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Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in Washington, DC
Marking his birthday and the significance he played in the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday and falls on the third Monday of every January.

Celebrating MLK Day

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Ways to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. throughout Delaware

Monday, Jan. 16, isn't just a day off school and work for some people — it's an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

While the University of Delaware offices are closed and many UD students are home before the spring semester begins, several events are scheduled around the state to honor the life of King. UD’s Center for Black Culture shared some events in Delaware planned for MLK Day and the days surrounding the U.S. federal holiday. 

Attend a celebration

Who: Newark United Methodist Church.

What: Several Newark churches will join together for a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

When: Monday, Jan. 16, 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Newark United Methodist Church, 69 East Main St. Newark, DE 19711.

How much: Free.

Attend a breakfast and volunteer

Who: Delaware State Bar Association.

What: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast and Statewide Day of Service.

When: Monday, Jan. 16.

Where: Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison St., Wilmington, DE 19801.

How much: Breakfast is $45.

Know this: The breakfast will include a keynote by Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a legal scholar and historian and dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute. Community members may register to attend the breakfast or to assist in a number of service projects. DSBA is also organizing a coat/winter clothing drive. 

More info: More information and registration can be found on DSBA’s website.

Clean and march

Who: West Side Grows Together.

What: Join West Side Grows Together, Be Ready CDC, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Music Network, Delaware Nature Society, I Am My Sister’s Keeper, MSK Community Center and the Wilmington Peacekeepers for the 11th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Clean Up, Peace March, and Celebration — a day of service and demonstration of peace, community strength and call to action. 

When: Monday, Jan. 16, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Community Clean Up: 10:30-11:30 a.m.

March: Noon-1 p.m.

Celebration: 1:15-3 p.m.

Where: 1009 Sycamore St., Wilmington, DE 19805.

How much: Free.

Know this: Attendees will also have the opportunity to take advantage of community resources, live music, free food, opportunities for further advocacy, family friendly activities and a small business marketplace.

More info: Registration and other details can be found at westsidegrows.org/mlkday.

Take a tour of Black art

Who: Delaware Art Museum.

What: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

When: Monday, Jan. 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wilmington Children's Chorus Performance: 10:15 a.m. 

Remarks by Andrea McCoy-Carty, chair of the Judy Johnson Memorial Foundation, and Chandra Pitts, executive director of One Village Alliance: 10:30 a.m. 

Poster-making and bowl glazing service projects: 10:40 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Black Art Tours: 11 a.m. and noon. 

Where: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806.

How much: Free for members and non-members.

Know this: Create a “Share Your Dreams” poster with artist K.O. Simms and glaze a bowl for Empty Bowls, benefitting the food pantry at St. Stephens Lutheran Church. While you’re at the museum, take a tour of Black art, watch performances by the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, and hear remarks by Andrea McCoy-Carty, chair of the Judy Johnson Memorial Foundation, and Chandra Pitts, executive director of One Village Alliance. In the afternoon, take your poster to the MLK March organized by West Side Grows Together.

More info: Visit delart.org.

Attend a film screening

Who: YWCA Delaware and MWUL (Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League).

What: MLK Day Film Screening – Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.

When: Monday, Jan. 16, 6-8:30 p.m.

Where: First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, 730 Halstead Rd., Wilmington, DE 19803.

How much: Free.

Know this: Doors open at 6 p.m. for pizza and beverages. The screening begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. This documentary covers the history of U.S. anti-Black racism. It interweaves archival footage and interviews and explores the enduring legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. Watch a trailer for the documentary on YouTube.

More info: Register online.

Attend a book talk

What: Book talk and signing with author Kwame Alexander.

When: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 9:30 a.m.

Where: Wilmington Public Library, 10 East 10th St., Wilmington, DE 19801.

How much: Free.

Know this: Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, producer and #1 New York Times Bestselling author of 36 books. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, three NAACP Image Award nominations and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. Attendees will receive a free signed copy of An American Story (while supplies last).

More info: More info can be found on delawarelibraries.org.

Attend an art exhibition

Who: Pacem in Terris.

What: Visionary Peace Youth Art Exhibition.

When: Sunday, Jan. 22, 1-2 p.m.

Where: Wilmington Public Library, 10 East 10th St., Wilmington, DE 19801.

How much: Free.

Know this: Young artists created their vision of a peaceful world. The artwork is intended to foster dialogue and encourage an intergenerational response to create a more peaceful world.

Donate a winter coat

Who: Wilmington University.

What: A winter coat drive in honor of MLK Day.

When: Now through Jan. 18.

Where: Various Wilmington University locations.

Know this: Adult coats should be new or gently used. Children’s coats, hats, scarves and gloves should be new only. Donations will be distributed through the Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach and United Way of Delaware.

More info: Details can be found on Wilmington University’s events calendar.

Attend a conference

Who: One Village Alliance.

What: Ninth annual Raising Kings Week, honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When: Monday, Jan. 16.

Where: OVA's Freedom Center, 31 West 31st St., Wilmington, DE 19802.

How much: Free.

Know this: The day of service on Monday kicks off four days of events honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Raising Kings’ goal is to increase exposure and strengthen relationships between boys, mentors, role models and fathers.

More info: More info and registration details can be found on its website.

Attend a virtual workshop

Who: Delaware Historical Society.

What: Protecting Your Dream: Virtual Social Emotional Learning Workshop.

When: Saturday, Jan. 14, 1-2:30 p.m.

Where: Zoom.

How much: Free.

Know this: Participate in an engaging virtual workshop on protecting your dreams, led by award-winning spoken word artist and educator Serena Joy. Registration is required. The event is recommended for children ages 7-12.

More info: Information and registration details can be found on the Delaware Historical Society’s website.

Attend a spoken word contest


What: Attend a special tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. offered by courageous youth speaking up for social change.

When: Sunday, Jan. 15, 2-4:30 p.m.

Where: The baby grand, 818 North Market St. Wilmington, DE 19801.

How much: Free.

Know this: MLK VOICE 4 YOUTH empowers youth to speak their truth, their way for societal change through respect, understanding and compassion.

More info: Information and registration details can be found on MLK Voice 4 YOUTH’s website.

Attend a program

Who: Delaware State University and The Inner City Cultural League Inc.

What: "Together We Can Be The Dream” Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday Program.

When: Monday, Jan. 16, noon.

Where: DSU Education and Humanities Theater, 1200 North Dupont Highway, Dover, DE 19901

How much: Free.

Know this: The program features the Honorable Karryl D. Hubbard, secretary of labor, The Sankofa String Orchestra & Drums, and musical selections.

More info: Information can be found on DSU’s events calendar.

Attend a breakfast

Who: M.O.T. (Middletown, Odessa, Townsend) NAACP.

What: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast.

When: Monday, Jan. 16, 10 a.m. to noon.

Where: MOT Jean Birch Senior Center, 300 South Scott St., Middletown, DE 19709.

How much: $55 for an individual ticket.

Know this: The event’s theme is "Growing the CommUNITY." The keynote speaker is Vaughn Bond Jr., New Castle County’s director of public safety.

More info: Purchase tickets online.

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