National Civil Rights Museum offers free admission, concerts, and more on MLK Day

What’s happening: This Monday, Jan. 15, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the national holiday celebrating both the man and the movement he helped shepherd. And while the national holiday itself is scheduled for the third Monday of January, this year’s celebration happens to fall on what would have been Dr. King’s 95th birthday. To celebrate, the National Civil Rights Museum has several special activities planned, as well as free admission and extended hours throughout the day.

How to take part: The National Civil Rights Museum has extended their hours on Monday, Jan. 15, opening at 8 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m. Financial support from FedEx means that museum admission will be free for all who enter. 

What’s planned: The museum will host Vitalant's MLK Spirit of Service blood drive on-site, with blood donors receiving free museum admission for two people in 2024. Guests are also encouraged to bring canned goods and non perishables to donate to the Mid-South Food Bank. There will also be live music and entertainment outside the museum, including performances from Gerald Richardson, Angie Holmes, the Overton High School choir, and more. A pavilion tent will showcase local organizations, children’s activities, and entertainment.

A complete breakdown of the day’s events is available online.

Why it’s important: “Dr. King once said ‘anyone can be great because anyone can serve,’” reads a statement from Museum President Dr. Russ Wigginton. “At our museum, we create opportunities to highlight the greatness in our communities.  Dr. King’s legacy and the progress we’ve collectively made encourages us to keep moving forward."

Big picture: Of course, honoring Dr. King and facilitating community service isn’t a one day affair. Throughout 2024, which marks the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Museum plans a yearlong program themed as “History Moves Us Forward.” The Museum will focus programming on many of the pivotal events from 1964, including the passing of the Civil Rights Act itself, Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. King.

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