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Martin Luther King Day events in NYC

Mark the civil-rights leader's legacy with performances, programming and Martin Luther King Day events in New York

Photograph: Elena Olivo

Since it was first observed nationwide in January of 1986, the holiday commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has served as a reminder of his legacy to the causes of civil rights, nonviolent opposition and community service. Along with becoming a volunteer in NYC to help honor Dr. King's memory, there are plenty of Martin Luther King Day events to check out on the day itself over the weekend, including live-music tributes, museum exhibitions, readings and more. Don't miss out on these events, along with other great things to do this winter.

When is Martin Luther King Day?

Martin Luther King Day is Monday, January 18, 2016.

Martin Luther King Day events in NYC

Studio Museum in Harlem

When Studio Museum opened in 1968, it was the first black fine-arts museum in the country, and it remains the place to go for historical insight into African-American art and the art of the African diaspora. Under the leadership of director Thelma Golden (formerly of the Whitney), this neighborhood favorite has evolved into the city’s most exciting showcase for contemporary African-American artists.

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Race and Privilege: Exploring MLK's Two Americas

WNYC and Apollo Theater celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with a panel discussion about the legacies of the civil rights leader and of the systemic racism he sought to erase. Brian Lehrer and Jami Floyd will lead the conversation, with performances by Daniel Bernard Roumain with Special Guests Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Emeline Michel.

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17 Jan 2016

30th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Acclaimed cultural critic and author of April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America Michael Eric Dyson is the keynote speaker at BAM’s yearly celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Following the speech are performances by the The Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir and The Voice finalist Kimberly Nichole, as well as the community art exhibition “Picture the Dream” by NYCHA Atlantic Terminal Community Center students.

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18 Jan 2016

Harlem Gospel Choir

Formed in 1986, the Harlem Gospel Choir has an impressive crossover résumé, having worked with U2 (on Rattle and Hum), Diana Ross and Jimmy Cliff. The group’s performances are exuberant, to say the least, as you'd expect from its slogan: "Get your dose of the Holy Ghost."

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B.B. King Blues Club & Grill , Midtown West Thursday December 29 2016

Living History Days: MLK Weekend

Meet die-hard reenactors of the 26th United States Colored Troops, a platoon of NY-based African American Civil War soldiers. The troops will be on hand to show off their weaponry and share tales of wartime heroism in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

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Sat Jan 16 - Mon Jan 18

Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Historic Harlem Walking Tour

Learn about New York’s links to the civil-rights movement on a special edition of Big Onion’s Historic Harlem Walking Tour. Notable stops along the two-hour trek include the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the NYC headquarters of the NAACP; and the Harlem Hospital Center, where the reverend was treated in 1958 after being stabbed with a letter opener in a bookstore.

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19 Jan 2015

See more things to do in January