Harry Adams, “Dr. King at Freedom Rally, Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, May 26, 1963,” digital image from a photographic print (image courtesy Harry Adams Collection)

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we are given the opportunity to honor a figure who had a direct impact on contemporary American culture and politics. Although his monumental legacy is well established, the struggle for civil rights that he waged over 50 years ago is still ongoing, taken up by a younger generation alongside those individuals who marched beside him. But in what ways can we commemorate his historic contributions, while acknowledging their relevance to current debates surrounding race, inequality, and American identity?

The California African American Museum has organized a day-long program of activities intended for the whole family. The event begins with a study group focused on King’s March 16, 1968 Los Angeles speech — his last before his murder less than a month later — with opening remarks by James Baldwin. This will be followed by a panel discussion on Intergenerational Activism, and a keynote address from Reverend Eddie Anderson, pastor of McCarty Memorial Church, co-chair of California Poor People’s Campaign, and Black Lives Matter advocate. Young activists will then read portions of his speeches, followed by a musical tribute from the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of King’s birth. Throughout the day, families and children are invited to make posters focused on causes they feel passionate about, which will culminate in a Children’s March around the Rose Garden, inspired by the Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963. For more historical context, participants can visit an exhibition on the 1963 Los Angeles Freedom Rally, one of the largest civil rights events in the county, at which King declared, “Birmingham or Los Angeles, the cry is always the same. We want to be free.”

When: Monday, January 21, 10am–5pm
Where: California African American Museum (600 State Dr., Exposition Park, Los Angeles)

More info at the California African American Museum.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.