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Martin Luther King Jr. Day events around Atlanta

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This mural by artist Louis Delsarte was painted with the help of volunteers and will be unveiled on January 17. There are dozens of other events to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this wekeend. AJC file photo

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the celebration of the Atlanta-born civil rights leader, may be our greatest holiday. The coming days are filled with incredible expressions of art and community. There are dozens of celebrations listed on on, but here are some of the highlights. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments, too!

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 18th Annual “A King Celebration” Concert
The concert features the world premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s new symphonic work, “Blues Symphony,” plus performances by the Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs.
8 p.m. $25. King International Chapel at Morehouse College, 830 Westview Dr. S.W., Atlanta. 404-681-2800,

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration
This kid-friendly event features a reading of “My Brother Martin” by Christine King Farris and a puppet show, “A Dream Shared by Two,” birthday cake and more. See more January events at the King National Historic Site.
10 a.m.-noon Jan. 15. Free, reservations required. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site Visitors Center, 450 Auburn Ave. N.E, Atlanta. 404-331-6922 ext. 3625,

The 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day Jr. Birthday Celebration
Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove speaks during the King Day celebration. She also will record an episode of WABE’s “Between the Lines” at 9:45 a.m. at Georgia Perimeter College’s Clarkston Campus Cole Auditorium.
7-9 p.m. Free. Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, 2340 Clifton Spring Road, Decatur. 678-891-2555,

Martin Luther King Day Jr. Celebration
The Georgia State Defense Force Band presents a musical tribute to King at 11:30 a.m. inside the Visitor Center Auditorium. That’s followed at 2 p.m. by a presentation by Alveda C. King, King’s niece, and a performance by the U.S. Naval Academy Gospel Choir.
11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Jan. 16. Free. King Historic Site, 450 Auburn Ave. N.E., and Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, 407 Auburn Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-688-7300,

Dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Mural
Mayor Kasim Reed and other speakers will dedicate a 125-foot mural designed by artist Louis Delsarte and painted with the help of volunteers. The dedication will be followed by a reception.
2 p.m. Jan. 17. Free. Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium back wall and Peace Plaza at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, 450 Auburn Ave. N.E., Atlanta.

Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Commemorative Service
Princeton University scholar Cornel West gives the keynote address at this service, along with guests Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, Mayor Kasim Reed, King Center Vice Chair/Treasurer Christine King Farris and Elder Bernice King. The service will be broadcast live outside on a 12 by 19 foot screen.
10 a.m. Jan. 18. Free. Ebenezer Baptist Church, 407 Auburn Ave., Atlanta. 404-526-8911,

Open house for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birth Home
Tour King’s Old Fourth Ward birth home. Meet with National Park Service rangers at the steps and walking through the house where King lived for the first 12 years of his life.
10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Jan. 18. Free. Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home, 501 Auburn Ave. N.E., Atlanta.

Annual King Summit Freedom Rally and Service Day
The annual Hands on Atlanta service summit features a conversation between Congressman John Lewis and Doug Shipman, executive diretor of the Center for Civil and Human Rights Partnership. The summit is followed by a day of volunteer projects hosted by Hands on Atlanta.
8:30 a.m. summit Jan. 18. Free. Morehouse School of Medicine Auditorium, 720 Westview Drive S.W., Atlanta
. For more info or to sign up for service projects, visit

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday March and Rally
The annual March is held on Auburn Avenue from Peachtree Street to Jackson Street. The rally is held on Auburn Avenue around the King National Historic Site. The parade route will be closed to traffic.
1-4 p.m. march and rally. Auburn Avenue, Atlanta. 404-589-4843 ,

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16 comments Add your comment

[...] of the very best honor King through art and community building. I encourage you to check out this list of major Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations around Atlanta, from Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performances to puppet shows to public art unveiling to service [...]


January 14th, 2010
12:01 pm

Those that are going to the King concert tonight to hear Marsalis’ symphony might like to know that the ASO is again performing a few movements from the work. Get the full story here:


January 14th, 2010
4:03 pm

Why did you even care to comment? Oh the ignorance…


January 14th, 2010
4:05 pm

Nick, how very sad for you. I will pray for you because it is because of people like you that hate is spread. It also shows your ignorance. Dr. King did not just protest for African Americans. Many of the rights of women and all minorities are a result of the Civil Rights Movement. May God open your eyes to the fact that we all bleed red. If you were to become ill and need blood, it could come from one of those Black people to whom you refer. I trust that you will let God show you the true spirit of humanity. Dr. King was not a FRAUD. He was a man of vision and carried out actions that changed this country for the better. If you believe in Heaven, remember ALL of God’s children will be there. Don’t be left out because of hate and ignorance.


January 14th, 2010
4:32 pm

Nick is an idiot. Who cares what he has to say? I’m quite sure he’s getting the day off too…Let’s move on.

[...] the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday celebrations. I’d encourage you to check out the Inside Access blog to find the latest happenings and of course, many of the activities are free of [...]

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January 16th, 2010
11:11 am

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January 17th, 2010
9:38 am

I just heard on 11Alive that Dr. Cornel West will be in Atlanta this year for MLK Jr. day, but I cannot find any confirmation of this. Does anyone know if he’s going to be participating? Thanks.

Jamie Gumbrecht

January 17th, 2010
11:05 am

OKGA, I just added details that confirm Cornel West will be at Ebenezer Baptist Church at 10 a.m. on Monday. (I didn’t have an easy time finding it either!)


January 17th, 2010
3:13 pm

does anyone know a
what time the parade starts tmrw ,downtown? how about any activities that might intrest the kids?

Jamie Gumbrecht

January 17th, 2010
3:29 pm

Relentlees, I added info about the march and rally above. The march begins at 1 p.m. It didn’t specifically mention children’s activities, but the National Historic Site and King home tours are definitely kid-friendly, and free. Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta also has several King-day related kids activities going on downtown for the regular cost of admission. More info:

jessica past

January 17th, 2010
9:29 pm


[...] are Martin Luther King Jr. Day events around Atlanta, and more activities [...]

Wanda Heard

January 18th, 2010
7:44 am

Martin Luther King Jr. A man whose life was his message…


January 18th, 2010
10:03 am

wow!! I just relocated to Southern California last year. Just to think I am so happy I was able to take my children to the King Center and to see REAL history,I feel truly honored. I think I will add mlk center as my donantions going forward. This has to be in honor to the King Family. My children will be able to keep the dream alive. Thank you Dr. King.


July 5th, 2010
4:39 pm