Local dignitaries and politicians filled the rotunda of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis on Monday for the city's 44th annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The city's celebration is the second-oldest in the country, behind only Atlanta. In addition to celebrating the slain civil rights leader, who would have been 83 on January 15th, most speakers also rejoiced in the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, who took the oath of office in Washington, DC as the proceedings took place.
Americans are well-aware of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. His fight for justice was aimed at changing the world, but during the fifties and sixties sought to resonate most heavily in his home country. Today his legacy has been celebrated tenfold – there are numerous streets and landmarks dedicated in his honor, the government designated his birthday as a national holiday in 1986, and just last year he became the first African American to have a monument designed in his honor on the National Mall.
The third Monday in January may be marked as a National Day of Service, but Christ Church Cathedral is remembering the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with a day of speech and reflection in order to spur change. The Cathedral is giving citizens an opportunity to listen and read a selection of his speeches aloud. “Let Freedom Ring” began four years ago after the very reverend Mike Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, realized there was no element of reflection evident in the service projects that others were completing.
“What it is, is it gives a foundation of reflection so that we can consider what that work is,” he said. “He never was an activist for activism’s sake. Everything was thoughtful, prayerful, reasoned, considered.” The day is not a discouragement to performing public service, however. “What we are hoping that people will do is embody that in their lives…do your five hours at the soup kitchen, then come here and speak these words, and consider what it was that you were doing, and consider what more it is that you are called to do,” says Kinman.
The program will be held from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the nave of the Cathedral. Participants can choose to read aloud, volunteer to man a 30 minute shift, or simply listen at any time during the day.
Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr by attending several events that will be hosted throughout the area. Occasions include lectures, discussions, music performances, and marches.
All events are free unless otherwise stated.
Know of another event worth adding? Send to Erin Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
Harris-Stowe State University hosts the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Commission of Missouri’s State Celebration kickoff event. The Trumpet Awards Foundation’s CEO, executive producer, founder, and president Xernona Clayton will deliver the keynote address.
6:30 p.m. Harris-Stowe State University’s Main Auditorium
"Monday Movie Madness"
St. Louis Public Library honors the legacy of Dr. King with their weekly movie series. On this day they are screening the documentary “Good Day To Die,” which tells the story of Native American Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement. Refreshments and discussion to follow.
6 p.m., Schlafly Branch - 225 North Euclid Avenue
St. Louis Jewish Book Festival presents a discussion with author and Rabbi Ben Kamin and Black Repertory Company founder Ron Himes on civil rights and social justice. Includes presentation in honor of Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis President & CEO Dr. James Buford for his work in helping to solidify African American and Jewish relations.
$8, 7 p.m. at Jewish Community Center’s Staenberg Family Complex
Barnes-Jewish and St Louis Children’s Hospitals present Reverend Michele Sue, the first black woman elder ordained in Missouri United Methodism on January 18; and past president and founding member of the National Black Sisters Conference Sister Mary Antona Ebo, FSM, on January 21.
January 18 at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, third floor auditorium
January 21, Noon at the Eric P. Newman Education Center, 320 South Euclid
Noon, with 11:30 a.m. music prelude at both events
For the third year in a row, Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis will give area residents a chance to read and hear the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The dean of the Episcopal cathedral, The Very Rev. Mike Kinman, says he appreciates the call from President Obama to make King's birthday a day of service. But he says the readings are designed to provide the reflective counterpart that was also a crucial part of King's life.
If you're planning to be in downtown St. Louis for the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up or other events on Monday, you'll need to take note of the following road closures for the Martin Luther King Day march.
Closures along the route will begin at 10:30 a.m. Assembly for the parade, which goes from the Old Courthouse to Powell Symphony Hall, begins at 11 a.m. at the Courthouse, and marchers will step off at 11:30 a.m.