Museum Kicks Off 2018 King Day Celebration With Theme ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’

Museum Kicks Off 2018 King Day Celebration With Theme ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’
On the national holiday Monday, January 15, the National Civil Rights Museum will remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his last campaign to balance the scales of economic justice through the Poor People’s Campaign. The focus of the celebration is community service and social and economic justice in honor of Dr. King’s impact on the global society. Activities include daylong performances, youth-centered edutainment, a healthy community pavilion and the National Civil Rights Museum experience. In the spirit of service, the Museum will hold its annual Mid-South Food Bank Drive and Lifeblood Drive, and serve as a center for community resources and engagement.
The theme, “Where Do We Go from Here,” continues as part of the yearlong MLK50 Commemoration. On the holiday, visitors can learn details of the museum’s MLK50 Commemoration, a yearlong remembrance of Dr. King leading up to the three days of events on April 2-4, 2018. Throughout the year, the Museum’s emphasis has been to spark action by individuals and organizations the world over to continue fighting for freedom, justice and equality.
According to his inner circle, Dr. King was working so diligently on plans for the Poor People’s Campaign that he forgot his 39th and final birthday in 1968. He was committed to achieving economic equality and curtailing the costs of American militarism during the Vietnam War. Despite criticism and backlash, he realized the urgency of changing the economic status quo through grassroots efforts of the Poor People’s Campaign. Today, the museum urges the continuation of Dr. King’s unfinished work through steadfast service and action.
What brought Dr. King to Memphis in 1968 was the Memphis Sanitation Strike. This week the Museum hosted the NAACP’s announcement event to honor the surviving Memphis Sanitation Workers with the organization’s Vanguard Award. The men will be presented the award during the live telecast of the 49th NAACP Image Awards on January 15 at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central. The ceremony in Pasadena, CA was moved from its usual February date to coincide with Dr. King’s birthday during the MLK50 Commemoration year.
“King Day is always special at the National Civil Rights Museum, but today’s environment requires us to think of what King was working toward in 1968 – a society that allowed every citizen to contribute and live with dignity, said Terri Lee Freeman, President, National Civil Rights Museum. “The theme, ‘Where Do We Go from Here?’ is a question that each of us must answer and act upon to achieve not simply the dream, but the desired reality of justice, freedom and economic equality.”
On King Day, the Museum will welcome thousands of visitors to a tour highlighting Dr. King’s involvement in the Movement with a special $5 admission during the extended hours of 8am–6pm. An optional $3 admission is available for attendees bringing canned good donations for Mid-South Food Bank. A free admission option is available for blood donations to the Lifeblood Drive.
King Day Highlights
• Visitors can tour the museum from 8am–6pm. Included in the tour is the exhibit From the Vault: Art in Action, where visitors can view original art from some of the Museum’s rarely seen work with a common theme of resistance through demonstrations and collective action.
• The Community Pavilion will be staged in the museum’s visitor parking lot that includes resources and screenings from a dozen local health organizations like Methodist Mammography Mobile, St. Jude Sickle Cell Program, Church Health, Baptist Women’s Health Center, Southern College of Optometry, CHOICES, LeBonheur Community Health & Well-Being, Early Success Coalition, Healthy Kids and Teens Memphis, and others.
• The Pavilion will also provide resources and information by organizations including Just City, New Memphis Institute, Latino Memphis, NAACP, Memphis Challenge, Sister Reach, Wolf River Conservancy, Girls Inc. of Memphis, Revolutions Bicycle Cooperative, and Girl Scouts-Heart of the South.
• Entertainment throughout the day on the Founders Park Main Stage will feature a variety of performances including Will Graves & Soul, Mighty Souls Brass Band, Stax Music Academy, Watoto Academy of Performing Arts-Meeting Street Academy (Charleston, SC), Ekpe Abioto African drummers, and spoken word artists. Special guests, media personalities and food trucks will also be onsite.
• Children’s Activity Tent will open 10am–4pm and include storytelling, face painting, music, balloon artists, puppeteers, arts and crafts (decorating a birthday cake celebrating Dr. King and creating their own message buttons.)
• The Museum is a sanctioned site of Volunteer Memphis’ Four Days of Service where volunteer corps will conduct clean-up projects across the city. On Monday, January 15, it will work in partnership with United Way, Clean Memphis, Memphis City Beautiful and several organizations.
Street closires
There will be a few road closures designated for pedestrian-only traffic around the Museum’s campus.
• Huling Avenue at South Main Street
• Huling Avenue at St. Martin Street
• Butler Avenue at South Main
• Mulberry Street at G.E. Patterson
• St. Martin Street from Second Avenue to Butler
The King Day premiere sponsor is FedEx; other sponsors include Caesars Foundation, John Dustin Buckman Charitable Trust, Tennessee Arts Commission, ArtsMemphis, Bancorp South and University of Tennessee Health and Science Center. A host of restaurants and services are providing in-kind donations and several corporations and organizations have committed volunteers to serve at the Museum on King Day.
For more information about the King Day at the National Civil Rights Museum, visit civilrightsmuseum.org/king-day. Hashtags are #KingDay2018.
The Nationa Civil Rights Museum, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, is the only museum of its kind that gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1619 to the present. Since opening in 1991, millions from around the world have come, including 90,000 students annually. As the new public square, the Museum examines today’s global civil and human rights issues, provokes thoughtful debate and serves as a catalyst for positive social change.
A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized among USA Today’s Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Named in the Top 1% of TripAdvisor Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC’s Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10 American Treasures by USA Today; Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and Top Tourist Attraction by Memphis Business Journal.

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