Nashville celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

This Aug. 28, 1963, file photo shows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledging the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech during the March on Washington.

Created to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January. During this challenging time, many events are being postponed or hosted virtually this year.  Listed here are just a few.  We encourage readers to check with the organizations before the events for updates as well as COVID protocols.

IMF Celebration

The annual Martin Luther King Day (MLK DAY) Celebration hosted by the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF) will take place January 12-17 virtually. This year’s theme is ‘The Legacy Continues: Lifting the Next Generation of Dreamers.’ The keynote speaker is Ilyasah Shabazz, an American author (most notably of a memoir, Growing Up X), community organizer, social activist, and motivational speaker, and the third daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz.

Activities include:

  •    Labor Panel – January 14, 8:30-11 am
  •    Youth Symposium – January 15, 9 am-1 pm
  •    Women’s Panel – January 16, 4 pm
  •    Convocation – January 17, 11:15 am

MLK Joint Day of Service

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Due to the resurgence of COVID 19, the 2022 MLK Joint Day of Service is moving to April 2 from the originally scheduled January date.

Volunteers from Belmont, Fisk, Lipscomb, Meharry, Nashville State, Tennessee State University, Trevecca, Vanderbilt, and other area colleges and universities will join in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by volunteering together for the 11th annual MLK Joint Day of Service.

Let Freedom Sing

The Nashville Symphony’s annual Let Freedom Sing concert honors the life, legacy, and triumphs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. This free annual celebration features classical works and popular songs that affirm equal rights and social justice.

The event takes place on Sunday, January 16, at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Performers include The Nashville Symphony, Dr. Jeffery Ames, conductor; Celebration Chorus, Celebration Youth Chorus; Margaret Campbelle-Holman, Celebration Youth Chorus co-director; Nita Smith, Celebration Youth Chorus co-director; Odessa Settles, Celebration Chorus manager; Dave Ragland, Celebration Chorus director; Dr. Destiny O. Birdsong, poet; NaGuanda Nobles, soprano.

The Civil Rights Collection

The Civil Rights Collection at the Nashville Public Library features black and white photos from the Civil Rights era in Nashville and a circular table in the center of the room representing the lunch counters of Nashville locations of many of the sit-in protests that fueled the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation

On Friday, January 14, Fisk University will have a special ceremony to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 10 am-12 pm.

MLK Freedom Fest

T3 Entertainment is excited to bring the MLK Freedom Festival to the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday, January 15. MLK Freedom Fest line-up includes Hip Hop’s newest stars Moneybagg Yo, Lil Durk, Rod Wave, and Latto with more surprise guests to be announced.

Belmont University 2022 MLK Celebration

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program was established in January of 1997 at Belmont University as a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Events are held each January as part of the observance of Dr. King’s birthday. Events are taking place January 17-21.  Events are open to the Belmont community and to the public and all are welcome and invited to attend. Events each year include a candlelight vigil in commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement, a chapel service, and a campus dialogue on diversity, race, and ethnicity.

First Missionary Baptist Church annual MLK celebration

Historic First Missionary Baptist Church in Franklin and its community partners have announced the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event ‘Where Do We Go from Here?’

Taken from the landmark work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this event on Jan. 17 will not only commemorate his legacy but also tell some unheard stories of his work for justice in America.

Historic First Missionary Baptist Church has hosted the MLK Day celebration in Franklin for more than 20 years. Organizers are looking for this year’s event to be a unifying opportunity for the city of Franklin and surrounding areas.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event’s schedule has been altered for the safety of attendees. In a normal year, the event would be held in the sanctuary of First Missionary Baptist Church, with singing and speakers. This year, it will be held outside in downtown Franklin near the newly installed ‘March to Freedom’ the United States Colored Troops statue. It will be a short gathering and prayer in the church’s parking lot at 11 am, and from there the symbolic march will take place, going into downtown Franklin.

Featured speakers will include Dr. Chis Williamson of Strong Tower Bible Church; Deacon Anthony Pickett of First Missionary Baptist Church; Dr. Christina Edmondson of Koinonia Church; Rev. Chris Whitney of One Generation Away; Rev. Bryant Herbert of Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition; and Rev. Walter Simmons of Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition.

The music for the day will be rendered by Kettle Praise and Naveysha Stewart.

Celebrate MLK Day with NMAAM

Spend MLK weekend at the National Museum of African American Music. From Jan. 14-17, take advantage of specially-priced $15 adult tickets and experience NMAAM’s immersive interactive experiences and galleries. On sale now at <blackmusicmuseum.org/tickets>.

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