It’s been 29 years since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first officially observed. (After originally opposing the bill, President Ronald Reagan signed it in 1983 and created the federal holiday.) It wasn’t officially recognized by all 50 states until 2000.
Celebrations of the American civil rights pioneer’s life and legacy are planned throughout the region on Monday and Tuesday. Here are a few highlights.
Levine Museum of the New South’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Celebration. Two days of film, performances, children’s activities and exhibits devoted to King’s life, legacy and his pursuit of civil and human rights for all. Monday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 200 E. Seventh St. Free. 704-333-1887; www.museumofnewsouth.org.
YMCA’s 21st Annual MLK Prayer Breakfast. Established by the McCrorey Family YMCA, proceeds support programs for children and teens at the westside Y. The keynote speaker is Ben Jealous, a civil and human rights leader and former NAACP president. 8 a.m. Monday. Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Tickets: $45. www.ymcacharlotte.org/mlk.
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. The Gantt Center celebrates the legacy of MLK with a full day of films, hands-on workshops and performances. Participating partners include Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Kinetic Works, On Q Productions, The Possibility Project and The Start Something Experience. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. 551 S. Tryon St. www.ganttcenter.org.
MLK Teen Summit, McCrorey YMCA. This event is open and free to all the teens and youth in our community and will engage them in discussion around social justice, higher education, entrepreneurship and civic engagement. Presented by Sprite. Monday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 3801 Beatties Ford Road. Event details.
UNC Charlotte’s 2015 Martin Luther King Celebration. Marc Morial, who as president of the National Urban League has expanded the 100-year-old civil rights organization’s mission to include a message of empowerment, will be keynote speaker. 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Cone University Center, McKnight Hall at UNC Charlotte. Free. www.uncc.edu.