Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the life and legacy of one of our nation's most important civil rights leaders. It's also a chance to reflect on how far we've come as a country and how much work remains to be done. Here, we'll share some ideas for how you can celebrate this holiday:
1. Prepare a Meal for the Hungry
If your community has a shelter or soup kitchen, consider volunteering there. You can also prepare food for your neighborhood and deliver it to needy homeless people.
You could also participate in Feeding America's annual "Share Your Holiday Table" campaign by hosting an event where guests can donate money to those less fortunate than themselves (e.g., set up a donation station at work) and bring food items that you've baked or cooked yourself! This is especially effective if you have friends willing to pitch in with their own dishes as well!
Another great idea is to volunteer at a food bank, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, food pantry, or community garden in your area!
2. Read One of Dr. Martin Luther King's Speeches
One of the best ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Day is by reading one of Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches. Reading his words and learning more about his life can help you understand what he stood for while also gaining inspiration from someone who worked tirelessly to bring about change in this country.
If you're looking for a specific speech delivered on Martin Luther King Day, we recommend "I Have A Dream" (1963). This speech is one of MLK's best works because it conveys powerful messages about equality and justice using imagery that even children can understand: "I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls."
If you're interested in reading a speech delivered during the Civil Rights Movement but aren't sure where to start, look no further than "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (1963). In this powerful letter addressed directly to his critics, MLK uses logic, scripture, and dynamic language to defend himself against charges that he was inciting violence—something he adamantly denied doing throughout his life.
3. Visit an MLK Exhibit, Museum, or Memorial
Martin Luther King Day is a day to celebrate the life, legacy, and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are many exhibits, museums, and memorials across the country that focus on his life, accomplishments, and teachings. So if you're looking to learn more about this important historical figure while helping yourself to some quality learning time with your family this weekend, here are some things you can check out:
- The Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington DC - Their current exhibit focuses on MLK's legacy throughout history.
- The National Portrait Gallery in Washington D*C - This museum has several portraits of MLK on display in their permanent collection (the museum itself is free).
- Montgomery, Alabama's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where MLK preached many sermons before he became famous.
4. Learn about MLK's Accomplishments
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American civil rights leader awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts toward racial equality in the U.S. He was also a Baptist minister. He led many peaceful protests during the 1960s.
King's legacy lives on today through people celebrating his accomplishments on Martin Luther King Day. On this day, people are encouraged to reflect upon what Dr. King stood for and how he helped shape society as we know it today.
5. Participate in a Service Project
If you want to participate in MLK Day, consider volunteering your time to help others. For example, you can volunteer with a charity or organization you support and help them raise awareness about their cause. You can also consider volunteering at local community events such as food giveaways for the homeless or telethons for children's hospitals.
6. Attend a Local Martin Luther King Day Parade
Martin Luther King Day is a great time to get out and enjoy the parade. But if you're not one of the lucky ones who live in a city with a parade, don't worry. You can still enjoy all of the fun.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission has compiled a list of MLK Day parades across the country. One thing to remember is that some of these parades involve more than just walking down the street — they involve marching bands and floats.
7. Make a Donation in Honor of Dr. King to a Charity
Another way to honor Dr. King's legacy is to donate some of your time or money to a charitable organization. Many worthy causes would benefit from your assistance, and it would be an excellent way for you to pay tribute to the man who helped shape your life as an American citizen.
The best part about donating is that there are so many options available! Some ideas include:
- Donate food or other goods at a local food bank or shelter (for example, see this list of shelters in my city).
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
- Make sure libraries have materials that reflect minorities' voices.
8. Host a Movie Night with Films About Martin Luther King Jr.
Take some time to honor Martin Luther King Jr. by watching some of his most influential films. There are a wide variety of documentaries about King, as well as biopics and dramatizations.
If you're having trouble deciding what movie to watch, here are a few recommendations:
- Selma (2014) - This film depicts the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama, that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. It stars David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Tim Roth as George Wallace (the governor of Alabama at the time).
- The Butler (2013) - Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines in this Oscar-winning drama about life during segregation in Washington D.C., including working for eight American presidents starting with Harry Truman until Ronald Reagan took office and continued working through George H W Bush's term before retiring at age 95 after 50 years on staff--the longest tenure ever recorded by anyone who worked at White House so far!
- Glory Road (2006) - This inspiring basketball story follows five black players recruited by Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) from Texas Western University who defeat an all-white team from Kentucky State College 72-65 during the NCAA championship game; based on actual events occurring in 1962 which caused racial tension between schools but showed everyone how important it was for everyone should have equal opportunity regardless color/race etc.
9. Bake MLK Inspired Cookies to Share with Neighbors
Celebrate Martin Luther King Day by baking some cookies! It's the perfect way to show appreciation and honor his legacy.
Make chocolate chip cookies. Use the chocolate chips to create a brown skin tone, then use icing to create a mustache on top of each cookie. Serve the cookies in disposable plastic bowls and share them with your neighbors, family, and friends. They will surely be impressed! Feel free to get creative with this step—you don't want your MLK-inspired cookies to look too serious!
10. Throw a Birthday Party for Martin Luther King Jr
If you're looking for a way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there's no better way than throwing a party.
Invite all your friends over for an MLK-themed party. You can make it as formal or informal as you want — this is your party, after all! Make sure you have plenty of food, music, and games for everyone to enjoy.
Play games, eat cake and ice cream, listen to music, and talk about Dr. King's life and work as you celebrate his legacy on this day!
And don't forget your decorations! Get out some patriotic disposable dinnerware and arrange a beautiful party tablescape that impresses your guests. You can use disposable plates, cups, and plastic cutlery from the Kaya Tableware store, which has everything you need to create a beautiful table that won't end up in a landfill. Kaya's disposable party supplies are recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable to help you reduce your carbon footprint.
These items are perfect for any type of party or event you're hosting. You can use them at your business or even at home! The patriotic dinnerware will add a special touch to any occasion!