MLK Jr. Day Events in Southeast Michigan

In honor of this African-American activist, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties offer 2016 family-friendly MLK events celebrating his life.

MLK Jr. Events in Southeast Michigan

On Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, our nation honors perhaps the greatest civil rights activist: Martin Luther King Jr. Here in southeast Michigan, local spots do their part by offering family-friendly events in celebration of this man and all he accomplished. From inspiring speeches to craft activities, exhibits and more, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties offer a variety of events this MLK Jr. Day. Metro Parent has checked out and listed some of these events at favorite local spots. So take a peek at this list and find a fitting way to honor Dr. King. Note that events are listed roughly in date/time order.

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Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit

Jan. 15, 2016 (Friday prior)

  • Address: 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-577-5284
  • Time: 10 a.m.
  • Cost: $10/program, $65/program and luncheon

Wayne State University hosts the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute luncheon, which features keynote speaker and civil rights leader Van Jones, who is a Yale-educated attorney and former Obama White House advisor, has written two New York Times bestsellers, and works as a CNN political correspondent. He is speaking to honor and celebrate the life of Dr. King.

Walgreen Drama Center in Ann Arbor

Jan. 17, 2016

  • Address: 1226 Murfin Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-764-0583
  • Time: 2:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Celebrate MLK Day with performances by three students, an interview of James McBride, and a performance by McBride and his jazz band. This event is part of the MLK Symposium #WhoWillBeNext.

Milford’s MLK Day Celebration

Jan. 17-18, 2016

  • Address: Prospect Hill, downtown Milford and the Suzanne Haskew Arts Center, 125 S. Main St., Milford
  • Time: 1 p.m. Sunday, 4-7 p.m. Monday
  • Costs: Free/march on Sunday; bowl project: $10/child, $15/adult

The city of Milford offers a couple family events to help celebrate this special day. The March on Main Street on Sunday kicks off at 1 p.m. and is followed by a performance of the national anthem, hot beverages and more. On Monday, head to the Suzanne Haskew Arts Center for the Empty Bowl Project Charity Event to paint a ceramic bowl as part of a grassroots effort of end hunger.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-5800
  • Time: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Cost: Free with museum admission: $8/ages 13-61, $5/ages 3-12, free/under 3

Today is this historical hotspot’s busiest day of the year. Arrive early and spend the entire day enjoying arts and crafts, musical performances, storytelling, video tributes, special displays and more. A breakfast (for an additional $35) kicks off the festivities at 8 a.m.

Athens High School in Troy

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 4333 John R St., Troy
  • Phone: 248-524-1147
  • Time: 8:30 a.m.
  • Cost: Free; donations accepted

All are welcome to join Athens High School as it hosts a multi-activity event, titled A Celebration of Freedom, full of art displays, essays and guest speakers.

Farmington Community Library Main Branch

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 32737 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
  • Phone: 248-553-0300
  • Time: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

The event begins at 9 a.m. at Prince of Peace Church (28000 New Market Road), with a one-third-mile walk to the library. There, the O.E. Dunckel Middle School Choir performs at 10:15 a.m., followed by a keynote presentation by Harry Weaver from the Detroit Anti-Defamation League at around 10:45 a.m. Then, there’s a reading by poet Ber-Henda Williams at 11:30 a.m., storytelling with Gwen Lewis at 1 p.m., a performance by the Harrison High School Dance Company at 2:15 p.m., and a community discussion forum on civil rights, immigration and refugees, which is new this year, later in the day. Plus, there’s crafts going on in the children’s room (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Note: All times are an estimate of when activities will begin. There will be an artist display by First Circle on the Main Level in the non-fiction area, too.

MLK Peace Walk Celebration in Southfield

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: Hope United Methodist Church and Southfield Pavilion (addresses in description below)
  • Time 9:30 a.m./walk, 11 a.m./program
  • Cost: Free

Families gather at Hope United Methodist Church (26275 Northwestern Highway) for this 31-year-old walk commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., sponsored by Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force, Inc. The program afterward happens at the Southfield Pavilion (26000 Evergreen Road).

Henry Ford Museum

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: Henry Ford Museum, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Phone: 313-982-6001
  • Time: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Celebrate MLK’s life with live music, hands-on activities and crafts.

University of Michigan Detroit Center

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 3663 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-593-3584
  • Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

This event features a screening of the original symposium followed by a complimentary lunch, and a panel discussion titled Leading for Today and Tomorrow. Registration not required, but appreciated.

Detroit Historical Museum

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-7935
  • Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Today, the museum offers a wide variety of activities, crafts and performances that let families of all backgrounds play together, and learn of King’s life and legacy, in honor of his 87th birthday.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-995-5439
  • Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Cost: $6/ages 2-plus (special pricing)

On MLK Jr. Day, the AAHOM offers a reduced admission rate and tons of fun. Kids can use toys to discover their inner engineer in the museum’s “pop-up makerspace” – and today, the challenge is to build a bell and make a ramp.

Burton Memorial Tower in Ann Arbor

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 881 University Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-764-0583
  • Time: noon
  • Cost: Free

This event is part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium and features a performance by U-M carillonists performing music by various African American composers on the 54-bell carillon in the tower. You can listen outside, or climb the tower to see the bells.

Painting with a Twist in Ferndale

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 200 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale
  • Phone: 248-850-7182
  • Time: Rainbow Love: 1-3 p.m., MLK Bridge: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: $25/seat for rainbow love, $35/seat for MLK Bridge

Create your own MLK Day masterpiece at this Ferndale spot. There are two MLK Day options this year: “Rainbow Love,” for ages 7-plus, and “MLK Bridge,” for adults. Register in advance to secure seat.

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Barton Nature Area in Ann Arbor

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: West Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-794-6627
  • Time: 1-3 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Natural Area Preservation, an organization that works to protect nature spaces in Ann Arbor, encourages local residents to use their MLK Day off to volunteer. Head here and help remove invasive shrubs and clean up the area. Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes (dress for weather!). Tools, snacks and training provided.

Detroit Institute of Arts

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-7900
  • Time: 2 p.m.
  • Cost: free/screening, free/admission to the museum for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, free/kids 5 and under and members; others: $12.50/museum admission for adults, $6/museum admission for kids, $7/museum admission for college students

The 1970s documentary King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis, follows the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and plays today.

Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown Branch

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-327-4200
  • Time: 2-3 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

The Biakuye Percussion Group performs a special show for kids in grades K and older – plus adults.

Flint Public Library

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 1026 E. Kearsley St., Flint
  • Phone: 810-232-7111
  • Time: 2-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

This annual event celebrates the life of MLK Jr. with keynote speech by Flint’s Mayor, Dr. Karen Weaver, an message inspired by King’s work as a Civil Rights’ leader called, A Legacy of Leadership, a musical performance, a re-enactment of the iconic, I Have a Dream speech, crafts and more. Note: activities at the Flint Institute of Arts follow this event.

Flint Institute of Arts

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 1120 E. Kearsley St., Flint
  • Phone: 810-234-1695
  • Time: 4-6 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Enjoy a step performance by The Gamma Delta Kudos and the Kappa Leadership League, followed by a jazz performance by The Reichlin Small group. There’s light refreshments and an opportunity to create thematic murals inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., too. Note: Activities at the library precede this event.

Baldwin Public Library

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 300 W. Merrill St., Birmingham
  • Phone: 248-647-1700
  • Time: 3-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Miz Rosie entertains kids of all ages with music played on African music, African American folktales and more – all in celebration of MLK Day.

Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton

Jan. 18, 2016

  • Address: 50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton
  • Phone: 734-394-5460
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Cost: $2/general admission

This tribute, titled Canton Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., celebrates his legacy with music and dance. There will be a luncheon, presentation by a keynote speaker, and MLK-themed artwork by local high school students on display, too.

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