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MLK Day in Atlanta

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day MarchPlays, Celebrations, Runs and Parades

As America celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in January, Atlanta pays homage in its own special way. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning son and long-time resident of Atlanta is memorialized throughout the city in myriad ways that are interchangeably poignant, festive and inspiring.

MLK Day Parades

Parades on Martin Luther King Day take place on January 21 in three different locations within 35 miles of downtown Atlanta. First up is the MLK Day parade in Fayetteville, which kicks off with a pre-parade pancake breakfast and then transitions to a post-parade program of commemorative speeches. The city of Lawrenceville has a theme of Leadership and individual participation for its 2019 celebration, which features the parade, musical performances, food and community gatherings. McDonough residents start the day with a prayer breakfast and “call to greatness,” followed by a festive parade and peace march.

Free Museums and Parks on MLK Day

From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on January 21, some of Atlanta’s favorite museums fling open their doors for free entrance in honor of Martin Luther King’s devotion to inclusiveness and community involvement. You can spend all the time you want in the Atlanta History Center and the Margaret Mitchell House where the novel Gone With the Wind was written. All National Park Service sites waive entrance fees on MLK Day, including the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, about a 20-minute drive from Atlanta.

MLK Day for Families

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta does have an admission cost on MLK Day, but it’s well worth it for the chance to experience history and legacy through special events such as storytelling, performance art and music. The MLK Day 5K Drum Race at Piedmont Park is family-friendly with a 3.1-mile drumline along the race course featuring more than 200 drummers from local high schools. There’s also kid-friendly music by DJ Uncle Joe and singer Cindy McGrier as well as a performance by Popular Dance instructor Kim Armstrong.

Cultural and Performance Arts Events

Marietta puts a premium on the arts when paying tribute to the life and works of Dr. King. From interpretive dance to drama, theatrical readings and music productions, it all takes place at Turner Chapel on MLK Day 2019. Actors in the city of Jonesboro take to the stage with a fictional drama titled “The Meeting,” in which Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X have a fictional encounter and debate the civil rights movement of the future.

Lectures, Marches and Conversation Series

The heart of Atlanta plays host to an annual MLK Day march and rally that’s free for all, focusing on peaceful calls for social justice. Participants assemble at Peachtree and Baker Streets at 1:45 p.m. Over at Morehouse College, where Dr. King earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1948, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture and Conversation Series takes place on January 30. It’s part of a larger commemoration of his life with events occurring from January 19 through 31.

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