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FunTimes Magazine

The indelible mark of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan 12, 2023 11:00AM ● By FunTimes Staff

    "Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,
                  ‘What are you doing for others?’”  
                                        -- Martin Luther King Jr.  

The late civil rights champion Martin Luther King Jr. will have his annual day on January 16th to celebrate the perpetual light of his legacy. Today, more than a half-century after his death, dozens of community activities are planned in his honor, reflecting King’s clarion call for caring, compassion, equality, justice and purpose. Here’s some (mostly) free events – including those asking for your volunteer service – that would make King proud. 

But before venturing out to these in-person activities, please respect the ongoing pandemic safety protocols, and check individual event-attending instructions with the organizers. As a general rule: If you feel unwell, please do not attend in person.

Image: Global Citizen Facebook Page


King for a day

January 16, 2023. Make it a day, and make a difference. This year marks the 28th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, promoted as the nation’s largest King Day. There’s an activity for you waiting. In the spirit of the great community crusader, take action and volunteer for in-person service projects in the Greater Philadelphia area including meal prep and food distribution initiatives, neighborhood cleanups and literacy programs. One example is King Day @ Girard College, 2101 S. College Ave., 9 a.m. to noon, featuring service projects, community resources, COVID-19 vaccinations/testing, other health resources and more. For a full list of others: Locations throughout Greater Philadelphia. Register to volunteer as an individual or in a group. Hosted by the nonprofit fighting social injustice, Global Citizen, 1201 Chestnut St., e-mail: [email protected] or 215-259-8374,

 Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech recited

January 16, 2023. Enjoy free admission and extended hours at the National Constitution Center on Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Events include readings of MLK’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech at 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., family-friendly concerts of songs from the civil-rights era and arts and craft activities in the National Constitution Center’s grand hall lobby. Free, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., 215-409-6600 or

Photo: Bartram's Garden

Dig deep down and volunteer

January 16, 2023. This is a prime shining example of the community cleanups connected to Martin Luther King Day of Service: Help spruce up Bartram’s Garden, one of Philly’s largest public gardens and historic landmarks, in Southwest Philadelphia. The effort will help clean up the nearby streets and also set up eventual springtime plantings and activities. Free. 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Bartram's Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd., email: [email protected], 215-729-5281 or

Members of the Philadelphia Jazz Project perform "We Shall" at the Museum over MLK Weekend in 2019. Photo: The Museum of the American Revolution

Music and spoken word tribute to King

January 14-16, 2023.  The Museum of the American Revolution will present a Saturday performance by the Philadelphia Jazz Project -- Wait Means Never: A Musical Exploration of MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. King’s 1963 letter while incarcerated in a Birmingham jail reflects poignantly on his faith, race and community. The one-hour concert will cover singing, instrumental music and spoken word honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 14. The weekend is dedicated to King. It also highlights daily gallery talks about voting rights, conversations about protest movements in early America and first-person performances portraying Elizabeth Freeman, an enslaved woman whose 1781 lawsuit helped to end slavery in Massachusetts. Programming is included in the regular museum admission, $21, 10 a.m. Wait Means Never performance is January 14th, 1 p.m., Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd St., 215-253-6731,

Image: Philadelphia Orchestra Website

King in memorial concert

January 16, 2023. Some say Martin Luther King’s oratory was musical. This tribute event proves that. And what’s better than the unifying harmony of music. Check out the annual Philadelphia Orchestra’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute Concert with conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra. They are accompanied by choirs from Girard College High School and Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. The program features works from Black composers and excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s speeches. Program musical offerings will be “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Starburst, First movement from Violin Concerto No. 1, Selections from The Montgomery Variations, Adagio for Strings (with narration based on the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.), “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” and “Anthem of Praise.” Free, but reserved tickets are required, 3 p.m. Girard College Chapel, 2101 S. College Ave., 215-875-7633 or



January 16, 2023. The 40th Annual Awards & Benefit Luncheon pays tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and to those community champions (TV News journalist Natasha Brown and community leaders Chad Dion Lassiter and Ernest Garrett) today carrying out the essence of his inspirational work. It will be hosted by the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc., a Philadelphia nonprofit. A National Bell Ringing Ceremony will take place, for the 37th year, at 11:15 a.m. before the awards ceremony at the Liberty Bell Center, 5th and Market streets. Awards Ceremony: Inquire about tickets, noon, Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia Hotel, Liberty Ballroom, 17th and Arch streets,


Music theory for kids

January 14, 2023. The future Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey may be out there in your neighborhood. And they could get a boost with some formal training. Kids, ages 5 to 8, may enjoy an Introductory Session for Building Blocks FUNdamental Music Theory for Kids. Learn more about the class and meet the teacher. Here is a glimpse of the class description: “Students will listen and perform skills through singing, rhythmic movement, tonal and rhythmic patterns. They will learn to read basic musical notation and strengthen their aural skills to match pitch.” Space is limited. Free, 11 a.m. Register here. Temple University Center City, 1515 Market St., 5th Floor. 215-204-1512, or e-mail [email protected]