5 Best Things to Do to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy in Manhattan

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed the world. He believed in peace and unity and love, and inspired us all with his unwavering hope in a better future.

It's likely you have off from work today, and you're wondering what you can do to honor and memorialize such a shining life.

Luckily, New York City knows what's up, and plenty of NYC cultural institutions are hosting events, walks, talks, and exhibitions to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do you have a dream? A dream that would get you out of the apartment, into the vibrant streets where you can feel Dr. King's legacy vibrating beneath every interaction, every instance of compassion and equality in this city?

We definitely feel it. If you want to know where you can celebrate MLK in NYC today, read on to find out how.

1. Harlem Gospel Choir performances (various locations)

harlemgospelchoir Going to be a great MLK weekend, starting with our interfaith service at Temple Shaaray Tefila, followed by our Sunday brunch @bbkingbluesnyc, our MLK matinee @bbkingbluesnyc on Monday & our annual shows @cmomnyc. #shabbatshalom #gospelmusic #interfaith #shaaraytefila #harlemgospelchoir #gospelmusic #cmomnyc. PC @jingoistic_relic #JINGOISTIC_RELIC

The Harlem Gospel Choir will put on three concerts throughout the day to commemorate the legacy of Dr. King.

The first show will be at the BB King Blues Club at 12:30 p.m., grab tickets for that here.


Can't make it out that early? Get to the later shows at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. There are shows at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., and those are free, so all you have to do is show up and prepare to do a lot of feeling.

2. Historic Harlem Walking Tour (135th Street and Lenox Avenue)

anniecakes247 The last time I was here, I was singing with my high school choir. It was only my second time to New York & I was already in love with the city. #RiversideChurch #HistoricHarlem #NYC

This is a two-hour walking tour that costs $20 to take part in.

You'll walk all around Harlem, learning about the civil rights movement that happened in this city, right under your feet.

You'll see historic homes, streets, churches, and theaters like the Apollo Theater, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and other spots frequented by Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X.

You don't need to reserve your spot in advance and the tour takes off at various times throughout the day. Just show up at the Schomburg Center ready to walk and learn.

3. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative March (various locations)

black_mecca America should stop using our blackness against us! Stop the war against black community! This is what we will demand today during #MLK March & Rally. Don't forget to be there. Assembly Time 1:15pm. March starts 1:45pm. It will begin at Peachtree Street and Baker (Xernona Clayton Way) Street. It is not just a day off it is a day of protest and struggle! Everybody into the streets! #IHaveADream2016 #reclaimmlk #MLKMarch #MLKAtlanta #blackmecca #Atlanta #Georgia #AtlantaGeorgia #ATL #theA #hotlanta #BLMAtlanta #America #blacklivesmatter #black #problack #blacklove #africanamerican #blackpower #hood #streetlife #blackareback #BlackBeauty #loveyourskin #blackisbeautiful #melanin

This march will start in Harlem and end on the Upper East Side. It'll go down today in Manhattan for the 28th year in a row. For the 28th year in a row NYC residents will join 8th graders from Manhattan Country School will lead the march.

The theme of this year's march is "The Unarmed Truth," which draws inspiration from King's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech.

Thinking of joining this march? You'll be in for singing civil rights songs, speeches, and stopping at landmarks like Frederick Douglass Circle, Harriet Tubman Statue, the Islamic Cultural Center, and will eventually conclude at the MCS location at 96th Street.

It's happening now, so you should get to the MCS location at 96th Street to hear the speeches ASAP.

4. The Museum at Eldridge Street (12 Eldridge Street)

museumateldridgestreet On this cold January day, we are basking in the light, warmth and beauty of our 1887 chandelier and contemporary east window, created by Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans. Thank you to photographer @ilovethechuckroast ! #museumateldridgestreet #chandelier #stainedglass #babyitscoldoutside #kikismith

The Museum at Eldridge Street will host a reading of What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada for Martin Luther King Jr. Day from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

If you attend, you'll also get to take part in the creation of a mural inspired by Martin Luther King's ideas, his famous speech, and you'll be prompted to respond to the question: what's your dream?


This event is free, and it should be pretty impactful.

5. The Museum of the City of New York (1220 5th Avenue)

thomchacon Folk City New York & the Folk Music Revival! #museumofthecityofnewyork #woodyguthrie #theweavers

The Museum of the City of New York will host a day to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King.

They've got an Activist New York exhibit, which tells the stories of New Yorkers who fought for freedom and equality for the past 350 years.

You'll learn about activists like Ella Baker and Baynard Rustin, and then you'll have the chance to craft a paper doll activist and prepare it for a civil rights march.

Admission to the museum costs $14, and it's going on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It should offer an opportunity to learn all about Dr. King's good fight.

Check out 4 Best Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy in Brooklyn

[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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