On the third Monday of January each year, the entire nation takes pause to honor the life, memory, impact and service of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King's birthday was Jan. 15, and though the holiday was established in many states long before, it wasn't a federal holiday until Ronald Reagan signed the law in 1983. The first official federal observance was in 1986.
Observed on Jan. 16 in 2017, Martin Luther King Jr. Day sees a variety of types of commemorations across the United States. Oklahoma City events range from the yearly parade through downtown to a silent march. Below get detailed information on the holiday events in the metro.
The Prayer Breakfast:
The 20th annual Midwest City Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at the Reed Conference Center near Rose State College will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 16.
Organizers expect between 400-500 people will enjoy breakfast followed by speeches and music. Guests include Senator Connie Johnson and Representative Gary Banz. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Midwest City Community Center (100 N. Midwest Blvd.).
The Silent March:
The traditional silent march, in the style of the early civil rights movement marches, will begin about 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 16. It moves from the Freedom Center (2609 North Martin Luther King Blvd.) west on NW 23rd to the south side of the state capitol building in time for...
The Bell Ringing:
At 11 a.m., there will be a ringing of Oklahoma's replica of the Liberty Bell in front of the Oklahoma History Center.
The MLK Jr. Holiday Coalition Program:
The annual public commemoration program from the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition of Oklahoma City features the "I Have a Dream" speech. The keynote speaker for 2017 has not yet been announced.
The program takes place at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral (127 NW 7th) from noon until the parade begins at 2 p.m.
The 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Parade begins at 2 p.m. from the corner of Broadway Avenue and NW 7th, proceeding along Broadway to Sheridan. There will be grandstands at NW 5th and Broadway Avenue.
The theme for 2017 parade is “A Time for Change Is Now.”
For more information on the parade, call coordinators at (405) 306-8440. To be involved, see the online application materials. The deadline for registration is Jan. 6, and a late fee applies for any registrations after Jan. 2.
In addition to participating in the parade, you can get involved by sponsoring the above events or volunteering. A sponsorship application is available online, and those interested in helping out should call William Jones at (405) 306-8440.
Myriad Gardens Activities:
In conjunction with the Ralph Ellison Foundation, the Myriad Botanical Gardens will hold an event on Jan. 16 featuring food trucks, music, crafts and readings. The schedule is as follows:
- 1 p.m.: Poetry Readings by Najah Hylton and Gregory McPherson II from Ralph Ellison Foundation
- 1:30 p.m.: Story Time
- 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Peace Dove Craft
- 2:30 p.m.: Reciting of Martin L. King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech by Steven Oliven from Ralph Ellison Foundation, on the Water Stage or South Lobby, Crystal Bridge (depending on weather)
- 3-4 p.m.: The Sanctuary Choir from the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of Truth will perform gospel music on the Water Stage or South Lobby, Crystal Bridge (depending on weather)