While Martin Luther King, Jr. is highly regarded and celebrated throughout the country on the third Monday of January each year, he has a special connection to Boston that warrants a unique celebration. As such, it should not come to much of a surprise that there are several different types of celebrations that take place in Boston on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Here is a look at just a few of the ways you can celebrate the minister and his achievements this year.
The Boston Connection
Martin Luther King, Jr. is well-known for the role he played in ensuring civil rights and equality in the United States. Prior to becoming a national figure of peace, Dr. King studied at Harvard and Boston University, where he earned his Ph.D. in systematic theology in 1955 after beginning classes in 1951. As such, Dr. King has a particularly special place in the hearts and minds of Boston residents.
The Faenuil Hall Celebration
Perhaps the biggest Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration to take place in Boston is the one that occurs in Faenuil Hall on Boston’s Freedom Trail. Taking place at 1:00 on January 18, the event features a tribute by the talented young musicians of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program. The event, which is made possible by the Museum of African American History, also features readings and tributes by distinguished guests. While at the Museum of African American History in Beacon Hill, take a moment to walk along the Black Heritage Trail. Call 617-725-0022 extension 22 for more details.
Visiting Boston University
Dr. King can also be honored by paying a visit to the Free at Last sculpture, which is located in front of Marsh Chapel at Boston University. Created by artist Sergio Castillo, the 20 foot piece commemorates Dr. King with a mass of wing-flapping birds cut from cor-ten steel. Up close, each individual bird can be seen striving to reach the sky. From afar, they are one flock forming the shape of a single bird becoming airborne. The sculpture, which was dedicated in 1975, is frequently surrounded by flowers and candles and severs as a gathering site for various events. Among those events to take place at the sculpture was Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.
After visiting the sculpture, you can then attend Boston University’s annual Commemoration of MLK Day starting at 1:00 pm on January 18 in the university’s George Sherman Union. The event will feature talks, readings and dramatic pieces revolving around the themes of social justice and civil rights. The George Sherman Union is located at 775 Commonwealth Avenue. For more information, contact the Dean of Student’s office at 617-353-4126.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
You can also honor Dr. King by participating in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday event. This event, which is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, is made possible as part of the United We Serve Initiative. As part of the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve calls for people of all walks of life to work together to strengthen their communities and create solutions to social problems. As part of the event, you are invited to volunteer with one of the many registered organizations, much in the way that Dr. King volunteered his time for the greater good. Past Webinars about the event can be downloaded from the organization’s website.