Martin Luther King Day: More than a day off from school in Minneapolis, St. Paul


Monday will mark the 25th anniversary of Minnesota’s first official celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, with lots of celebrations, large and small. St. Paul Central High School hosts the official state celebration, and has for many years, according to Central High School Principal Mary Mackbee.

Mackbee, who has been at Central for almost 18 years, said the official celebration has been there almost as long. “[Central] is a prominent fixture in the black community,” said Mackbee, “the oldest high school in the state and traditionally seen as an inner city school that most African Americans attend.” The celebration at Central, which begins at 9:30 and continues with a march to Concordia College, draws about 1,500 people, filling the auditorium and spilling over in to the cafeteria, where the overflow crowd watches on television.

“This seems to be the people’s celebration,” said Mackbee, “with a lot of groups that represent community-based, grass roots organizations. They come with their signs to march as a group.” No advance registration is needed, she said: “Just line up and start singing!”

Among the Twin Cities observances:

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) will participate in a day of service, after a breakfast kick-off and speech by Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe. 7:30 a.m., MCTC, 1501 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis. Contact Dan Brasch at 612-659-6315 or to register. Registration is necessary. The deadline to register is Jan. 7.

Martin Luther King Holiday Concert – Rondo ’56 • An evening of images, stories and songs with T Mychael Rambo, Thomasina Petrus, Bruce Henry, Yolanda Bruce, Cynthia Johnson, George Faber, Dan Choinard, a rockin’ band, the Saint Joan of Arc Choir and more.  7:00 P.M. at St. Joan of Arc, 4537 3rd Ave. South, Minneapolis. Tickets are general admission and are $20. Information here or by calling 612-823-8205.

Dr. Martin Luther King Day Breakfast

  • (Minneapolis) Speaker this year is Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ. 7 a.m., Minneapolis Convention Center,

(St. Paul) Reclaim with Adrift on the Mississippi – excerpts from the History Theater Play; Rejoice with Promise Neighborhood Program; Renew with The St. Paul Fair Lending Coalition. Keynote Address by Newark Mayor Cory Booker simulcast from Minneapolis. Register online or call (651) 789-3877 between December 27th and January 12th.  7-9:30 a.m., Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue, St. Paul.

“UnArmed Truth:” The Blueprint for Lasting CHANGE

  • Governor’s Commission on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statewide Celebration Events

9:30-10:30 Young adult speakers, musical and dance performances Central High School, Lexington and Marshall Avenue, St. Paul
10:35 – March to Concordia University (about 1500 people very year)
11-1 p.m. Program with historical power point exhibit, musical, dance, spoken word, and poetry performers; awards and various elected officials speaking on legacy of King, followed by education fair from 1-3 p.m. Concordia University, Gangelhoff Center, Hamline Avenue and Marshall Avenue, St. Paul

Historically Black Colleges and Universities College Fair • High school students are invited to talk personally with representatives and grads from more than 20 of the nation’s 105 HBCU, and to connect via SKYPE to others. Food, entertainment, door prizes! Register with AchieveMpls or call Arnise Roberson, AchieveMpls Career & College Initiative Director, at 612-455-1566. 3 p.m., January 17, at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, 3355 Fourth Street North, Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

  • Parks in Minneapolis have several celebrations scheduled, with the list here.

Martin Luther King Park, 6-7 p.m. 4055 Nicollet Avenue South (international speakers and artists, “Living the Dream” award to MN Twins)
Powderhorn Park, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 3400 15th Avenue South, Minneapolis (food, games, prizes and entertainment)
Whittier Park, 1-3 p.m. , 425 26th Street West, Minneapolis (food, games, prizes and entertainment)
“Feeding The Dream” Community Food Drive is underway at recreation centers throughout the city.      

MLK Day Of Service
Admission Possible Service Day • More than 70 Admission Possible staff and AmeriCorps members will make Monday “day on” for staff and AmeriCorps members, volunteering with organizations that support children and families experiencing homelessness and other crises in the St. Paul and Minneapolis communities.

Tapestry of Dreams • The University of Minnesota celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert, with a concert featuring The Steeles, 4Given, and Dr. John S. Wright’s “Jazz Moods for Dreamers.” 4-6 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th Street South, Minneapolis. More information or or 612-624-0594.

Century College Martin Luther King Day Lecture Series • Talk by Naomi Tutu. Tutu, the third daughter of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Nomalizo, founded and was the chairperson of the Tutu Foundation, which assists South African refugees. 7 p.m. on the East Campus Lincoln Mall. The public is invited to attend this free event. For more information, please contact Theresa Glass at 651-779-5531 or