Virtual events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Charlotte

By Charlie Leonard

January 17, 2021

As one of the most influential figures in American history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pioneered cooperation with our fellow man, regardless of skin color. Through elegant speech and unwavering determination, Dr. King pushed civil rights to the forefront of American discourse, ultimately giving his life in the process.

With the unique difficulties in gathering together this year, there are four virtual events taking place in Charlotte to honor Dr. King and celebrate his legacy.

MLK Holiday Celebration by YMCA Charlotte

Monday, January 18 at 9 a.m. 

The 2021 MLK Holiday Celebration presented by the YMCA of Greater Charlotte will feature global humanitarian and political leader Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife Coretta Scott King. He will be joined by community leaders for a conversation focused on justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion. The event will stream live on Facebook.

MLK Day Weekend by Harvey B. Gantt Center

Monday, January 18 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center is planning a full day of events on MLK Day starting at 10 a.m. The events begin with a multifaceted aural history of slavery until the Civil Rights Movement through spirituals, protest songs, and gospel performances. In addition, a film screening of Our Friend Martin, musical performances by Omar El-Amin and Rudy Currence, an interactive art experience by teaching artist Dyair, and panel discussions on the state of civil rights in the 21st century and the community’s experience with the criminal justice system. You can stream the event in its entirety at

MLK Family Day Celebration by Levine Museum of the New South

Monday, January 18 at 6 p.m.

At 6 p.m., The Levine Museum of the New South will stream their MLK Family Day Celebration live on Facebook. The celebration includes historical insights from Dr. Willie Griffin, and a moment of reflection by Bernice A. King about the role of her mother, Coretta Scott King. Also featured will be spoken word by Hannah Hassan and 345 students from ARTS+/Studio, music by Destiny Stone in partnership with Live From the Print Shop, Charlotte city councilman Braxton Winston with the story behind Stevie Wonder’s happy birthday song, and Pastor Kelvin Thompson and the Bal Perazim Ensemble.

Art – Poetry – Music: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Opera Carolina

Monday, January 18 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Opera Carolina will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through a two-hour performance of art, poetry, and music. Musical performers include sopranos Dawn Anthony and Sequina DuBose; tenors Johnnie Felder and Johnathan White; bass Jordan Bisch, and performances by the Lovell Bradford Quartet and Charlotte’s Community Virtual Choir. In addition, poetry by Boris “Bluz” Rogers and visual artworks by Beverly Smith and Tony Moy. Special guests will include Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, Ohavia Philips, Derrick Davis, and Douglas Tappin, star of Opera Carolina’s I Dream. Tune in on Facebook, and view the show for up to 24 hours afterward at

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