Martin Luther King Day in the Twin Cities: A chance to connect, reflect, serve

 “Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys...the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community.” —Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrated the third Monday of every January, offers the nation an opportunity to both celebrate and soul-search. As we reflect on the words of King and the turbulent times in which he lived, we are reminded of the progress made in the march towards racial and socio-economic equality.  We are also reminded of the work yet to be done in fulfilling King's dream, and the role each of us can play in building that “beloved community.”  

Below is a round-up of Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations in the greater Twin Cities area — from concerts to volunteer opportunities — that provide the perfect occasion to join with others and engage in the community. As always, we invite you to use the comment section to add an event not listed or share your favorite way to celebrate the MLK Jr. Holiday.

Related articles:

First-person accounts from the March on Washington 

Over 40 years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out the "illusion of the damned"


The MLK Day of Service: Voices of the Community Celebrating the Dream, January 18 
Minneapolis Community and Technical College, 1501 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
8 am – 2 pm
Breakfast –  8-8:45 am
Program – 8:45 am
Volunteer –  10 am (return to campus by 2 pm)
Light breakfast plus inspirational speakers, music, and Spoken Word performances. Special guests: Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV reporter, Sondra Samuels, president and CEO, Northside Achievement Zone, Deliverance for Youth, MCTC’s Spoken Word and MCTC Civil Rights scholars.

Rondo ’56 by Dan Chouinard, January 19 
St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 Third Ave. South in Minneapolis, MN; 612-823-8205.
7 pm; $20 each
Details from the website:

This year’s MLK Holiday show is Rondo ’56, a repeat performance of the standing-room-only hit from 2011. An evening of remembering St. Paul’s historic African-American main street with images, stories and songs. Written and hosted by Dan Chouinard and featuring T Mychael Rambo, Bruce Henry, Cynthia Johnson, Yolanda Bruce, a rockin’ band, the SJA choir and more.

33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute, January 19
Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th St. S., Minneapolis, MN
4 – 6 pm; Free and open to the public; no advance tickets or reservations are required.
Description as advertised:

The University of Minnesota will host the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute featuring Bill Banfield and Jazz Urbane plus performances by Ysaye Barnwell, vocalist Yolanda Williams and high school students from the FAIR School in Minneapolis...

MLK Day Celebration at Redeemer Lutheran Church, January 19
Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1800 Glenwood Ave N., Minneapolis MN
The schedule:
10:30 am – Worship service
12:00 am – Community potluck in Fellowship Hall
2:00  am – Community program in the sanctuary with readings, poetry, and music 

Lift Every Voice, Dreaming As We Strive (state-sponored event)
Minnesota History Center 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., in St. Paul, MN
8:30 am –12:30 pm
Remarks by Governor Dayton, Keynote address by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Emcee, Angela Davis of WCCO-TV, Program honoree Dr. Josie R. Johnson
8:30 am –  90 minute discussion on the coming legislative session at the History Center
10:15 am  –  Annual march will begin at the Cathedral
11 am  –   Remarks by Governor Dayton and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison at the History Center
12:30 pm –  Complimentary lunch 

24th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast, January 20
Convention Center (Ballroom A), 1301 Second Ave S, Minneapolis, MN
7 am; $30.00 per person
Keynote Speaker: Donna Brazile, plus Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., Darnell Davis and The Remnant, The MacPhail Community Youth Choir, and Warren C. Bowles.
Broadcast Schedule: Watch the MLK Breakfast LIVE on Twin Cities Public Television (tpt2) at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, January 20, 2014 or stream it online at 

Powderhorn's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, January 20 
Powderhorn Community Center, 3400 15th Avenue S. Minneapolis, MN; 612-230-6484
11 am – 2 pm; Free and open to the public
Special activities and performances are planned and refreshments will be served

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration with Presiding Bishop, January 20
Olson Campus Center, Luther Seminary, 2481 Como Avenue, St. Paul, MN
Click here to find maps and directions to Luther Seminary.
11 am  – 3:30 pm (go here for schedule); Free; No RSVP is required

Policy and a Pint: Minnesota and Race in the 21st Century, January 20

Varsity Theater, 1308 4th Street Southeast MinneapolisMN 

6 pm – 8pm; $5-10 Go here for ticket info

More about the event as advertised:

"On a special Martin Luther King Day edition of Policy and a Pint, we'll have a conversation about race in Minnesota and in America at large - where we've been and where we're going.  We’ve made progress since the civil rights struggles the 1960s, but where do we want to be in the 21st century?  We’ll go beyond racial disparities and the achievement gap to real-world questions about how to bring about Dr. King’s dream of economic justice, and how we want today's more diverse Minnesota to evolve and thrive. "

Annual Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Reflective Service: Strength to Love, January 20
Calvary Baptist Church, 2608 Blaisdell Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN; 612-872-7855
6:30 pm; Free (free-will offering to support social justice initiatives within Calvary community)
Please bring a pre-cut "Soulful Dessert" to share following the service. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at MLK Jr Recreation Center, January 20 
MLK Jr Recreation Center, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN; 612-230-6479
6:30 –7:30 pm; Free and open to the public
Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate. Light refreshments will be served after the program.
Details from the website:

The event will be hosted by Newmann Thomas, local youth pastor and Youthline mentor for the MPRB. Robyne Robinson, well-known for her 20 year news casting career and current Designer/Arts and Culture Director for the MSP International Airport Foundation will give a keynote presentation. The program will also feature a tribute to Dr. King as well as performances from Jeff Keys Combo and former American Idol (Season 5) finalist Paris Bennett.

The MPRB will present its “Living the Dream” award to Larry Fitzgerald Jr., NFL wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, for his dedication and commitment to our community.

A Great and Happy People: The Words of Civil Rights, January 20 
Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 612-825-3737
7 pm; $6  – $12 sliding scale

Readings of some of the most stirring, exhilarating and hilarious words that form the backbone of America’s spirit of civil rights. Interpreted by artists, legal scholars and historians, these are some of the speeches, letters, court opinions and essays from the Revolution to the Clinton Administration that are worth remembering—and rediscovering. - See more here.

A Legacy of Violence: Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin and Beyond, with Sarah Bellamy, Wednesday, January 22
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
3000 5th St NW, New Brighton MN; 651-255-6138
7 pm; Free
Registration: More information and online registration

Sarah Bellamy, a visiting professor of theater and culture at United, and associate artistic director at Penumbra Theater, will discuss the legacy of slavery and the ways violence is dramatized on the national stage. This is a multimedia presentation that examines racial violence in the nation, and how it informs our contemporary experiences. The event is designed to foster critical thinking and dialogue around issues of social inequality.

North Hennepin Community College Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. in Concert, Thursday, January 23 
Science Center Atrium Fine Arts Center Theatre, 7411 85th Avenue North Brooklyn Park, MN; 763-488-0490
7:30 pm; Free and open to the public (limited seating so arrive early)
This concert, sponsored by NHCC’s Diversity Committee, Student Life, and the Fine Arts department, features songs of praise by the NHCC Chamber Singers, directed by Karla Miller; Sandy Hodges and Friends; and Voices of Inspiration from Macedonia Baptist Church, directed by Nerita Hughes.

How will you be spending Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Let us know in the comment section below.  Go here to find volunteer opportunities in your community.


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  • Where's the march from Central to Augsberg? Did I miss it somewhere? I've been for that a couple of years and want to take Jack to it. Nice to see so many other things, but that's the best one! - by John Slade on Sat, 01/18/2014 - 10:47pm

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Paige Elliott's picture
Paige Elliott

(paigeelliott [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net) Paige Elliott was born and raised in south Minneapolis. She currently works as an Editoral Assistant, with emphasis on visual storytelling.