The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History presents its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration Monday, January 19, 2015. Featured events include the 15th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemorative Breakfast and the first Unknown Legacy of MLK Forum, hosted in partnership with Public Allies Metro Detroit. These highlights and a variety of other family friendly activities will be held at the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, on its most popular day of the year.
The Commemorative Breakfast precedes the day’s events, beginning at 8 am. Hosted by the Women’s and Friends’ Committees of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History as an annual fundraiser for the museum, the breakfast will features guest speaker State Senator Coleman A. Young, II, The Detroit Delta Preparatory Academy Choir, The Institute of Music & Dance at Marygrove College, and a special presentation by University of Detroit Jesuit High School student and John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award nominee Saunders James Lee II. U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. will serve as the Honorary Chairperson.
The Wright Museum opens to the public at 9 am and the day’s schedule includes arts & crafts, children’s activities and workshops, civil rights films on continued rotation, dance and musical performances, and the display of Martin Luther King artifacts including Table of Brotherhood, signed by luminaries such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee, and an official maquette (scale model) of the Martin Luther King National Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Beginning at 10 am, Public Allies Metro Detroit explores the “Unknown Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” through a youth dialogue based on race, culture, and Detroit identity in leadership. Through presentations, workshops, and roundtable discussions, youth and young adults are invited to examine organizational policies, practices, attitudes, and initiatives to help them on their quest as NEW-NOW-NEXT community leaders, in addition to cultivating meaningful cross-cultural discussion on current social and civic issues. The forum is free but advance registration is encouraged at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/unknown-legacy-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-tickets-15068124165.
Making its southeastern Michigan premiere, the 2014 documentary, "Al Helm (The Dream): Martin Luther King in Palestine" will be presented in partnership with the Arab American National Museum. Following the screening is a discussion focusing on community building, service, and ways to diffuse racial and ethnic tensions. Panelists include Will See, youth coordinator at East Michigan Environmental Action Council; Amanda Ghannam of Kairos USA's board of directors and former Students for Justice in Palestine organizer; Dr. Jeffery D. Robinson, principal at Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy and pastor at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, both in Detroit; and Zena Ozeir, activist/Public Ally. The film screening and discussion are free but advance registration is encouraged at http://bit.ly/mlkinpalestine.
Also taking place is the debut of the museum’s latest exhibit Shadow Matter: The Rhythm of Structure – Afro Futurism to Afro Surrealism, a one-man show featuring the works of New York sculptor and Inkster, Michigan-native M. Scott Johnson. Johnson studied under master artisans in Africa, and his work - which is influenced by African American techno music, Ndyuka and Saramaka graphic art forms, and Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi - has been exhibited in galleries across the United States and abroad including the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harvard University, and The New York Botanical Gardens.
Tickets for the Commemorative Breakfast are $35 and can be purchased online at www.TheWright.org, by calling (800) 838-3006, or at the museum during normal business hours. Discounted group tickets are available for $30 each when purchased in groups of 10, and all breakfast tickets include admission to MLK Day activities at the museum. Doors open at 7 am and breakfast will be served promptly at 8 am in the museum’s Ford Freedom Rotunda. Valet parking will be available.
MLK Day activities and exhibits are free with museum admission, which is $8 for adults (ages 13-61), $5 for seniors (62+) and youth ages (3-12), and free for museum members and children under 3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day programming is made possible by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.