National Civil Rights Museum celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday

The National Civil Rights Museum, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present.

The National Civil Rights Museum has pivoted to present ‘King Day: An All-Day Hybrid Celebration’ on January 17, with free admission to the museum from 8 am to 6 pm. The museum is at limited capacity to uphold health and safety protocols. Guests must reserve museum passes online at <kingday.org>.

Due to the surge in COVID cases, the museum is foregoing its courtyard entertainment, resource stations, and children’s activities where people would gather in close proximity. Guests are required to wear masks. Sanitation stations will be posted throughout the experience.

The virtual celebration will feature musical performances by Memphis musicians Garry Goin, TykeT, Karen Brown, and many others. Museum educator and historian Ryan Jones is ‘DJ Thriller’ and will spin the turntables in a special salute to Dr. King’s life and legacy. Spoken word artist Carin Malone, a.k.a., ‘Writeous Soul,’ will deliver a tribute to the civil rights leader. The virtual event is free and can be watched starting at 8 am, CST.    Viewers should register for the live stream link.

For young virtual viewers, museum educator Dory Lerner will present ideas for children and families to remember Dr. King, his character, and the virtues he taught around love, peace, and justice. To access the virtual program link, participants can register on the museum’s website.

“We never miss an opportunity to celebrate Dr. King and all he has meant to us, COVID or not. This year’s celebration reaches visitors coming to the museum and those joining virtually around the world in paying tribute to the man known as the greatest humanitarian who ever lived,” said Faith Morris, chief marketing and external affairs officer. “In keeping with Dr. King’s service to mankind, we dedicate this King Day to Double V – Vaccines and Voting. We encourage everyone to do their part in protecting themselves and those around them. Get Vaccinated! And let your voice be heard. Vote! Happy birthday, Dr. King!” she said.

King Day highlights:

  •    Visitors can tour the museum from 8 am–6 pm. To secure admission, making online reservations is highly recommended for King Day, January 17.
  •    There will be music, announcements, and recorded speeches by Dr. King from the Main Stage outdoors.
  •    The emphasis is on ‘Double V’ (vaccines and voting) to address vaccine hesitancy and voter apathy, two issues that are particularly adverse for communities of color in the U.S. and globally.
  •    Through the Communities for Immunity project, the museum is sharing online resources and a survey to gauge response to the urgency of COVID and getting vaccinated.
  •    For its food drive benefitting the Mid-South Food Bank, the museum is requesting that guests bring canned goods donations to help feed the growing number of hungry families in the Mid-South.
  •    The museum continues its annual blood drive with Vitalant to help with the critical shortage. Anyone donating blood receives a free admission pass for up to four people any day in 2022.

Free museum admission on King Day is made possible by FedEx. Supporting sponsors include Tennessee Arts Council, Starbuck Foundation, and Southland Casino Racing. For more information, visit <kingday.org>. The event hashtag is #KingDay2022.

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