Things to do in Greater Akron to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day including free museums

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said in Nashville Dec. 28, 1962, that the price America will pay if it refuses to deal with the problems of racial discrimination is "destruction of our democracy." King delivered the keynote address, which officially opened a three-day conference on racial problems.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said in Nashville Dec. 28, 1962, that the price America will pay if it refuses to deal with the problems of racial discrimination is "destruction of our democracy." King delivered the keynote address, which officially opened a three-day conference on racial problems.
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From lectures to reflection to even a bit of fun there are plenty of ways in coming days to mark the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in Greater Akron.

The Akron-Summit County Public Library is once again hosting a speaker and many museums and even the zoo will offer free admission on Martin Luther King Day.

The Akron Zoo is among those offering free admission to guests on Jan. 16.

Many Cleveland-area institutions including the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Botanical Garden are all offering free admission and special programming for guests on Martin Luther King Day.

Visitors take part in a previous Discovery Day at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Visitors take part in a previous Discovery Day at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Here's a sampling of some of the planned events in the region.

City of Akron's Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Day

Annual City of Akron commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. King: 4 p.m. Jan. 15 at First Congregational Church of Akron, 292 E. Market St., Akron. The event is free and open to the public; no reservations needed. The annual event put on by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Day Coalition features keynote speaker Ronald C. Todd II, minority affairs liaison under Gov. Mike DeWine, as well as greetings by Akron NAACP President Judi Hill, Pastor Robert DeJournett of Saint Ashworth Temple and Senator Vernon Sykes. Various musicians including music from Donell Phipps and the Delivered Ministry choir, will provide inspiration. Members of the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council will offer readings from Dr. King's writing and the Coalition will also award the 2023 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Day Coalition Scholarships. The commemorative event is the oldest in Akron, having begun in 1979, according to a release from the church.

MLK lecture at Akron's Main Library

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture: 2 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Main branch, 60 S. High St., Akron. Featured speaker is Dr. Basil Smikle Jr. Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Public Policy Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College-City University of New York. Sponsored by the Akron Summit County Public Library and the Eta Tau Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. https://services.akronlibrary.org/event/7517611.

University of Akron hosts MLK speaker

The University of Akron will host pastor Kito D. March, of Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, at noon Friday at the Jean Hower Taber Student Union. March will talk about “remaining focused at critical times." The event is sponsored by the university's Office of Inclusion and Equity and the Office of Multicultural Development.

Free day at Akron YMCA branches

Free "Try the Y" Day On Martin Luther King Jr. Day: All Akron Area YMCA branches, in Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Green and Wadsworth will be participate in "Try the Y" day on Jan. 16, Adults are invited to join in group exercise classes, use the fitness equipment, walk on the track, meet the staff and just get the lay of the land. Special children's activities will be conducted from noon to 2 p.m. only, with a parent or guardian needing to be present. To find a location, please visit akronymca.org/locations. To find a schedule of group exercise classes and open swim times, please visit akronymca.org/schedules

MLK Urban League breakfast

Akron Urban League Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast: 8-9:30 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, 3180 W. Market St., Fairlawn. The event is sold out. Guests will gather to celebrate Dr. King’s historic call to action for civil and economic rights and hear the inspiring story of featured speaker Dr. Michael Forbes, Akron Children’s Hospital’s chief academic officer, as he shares his childhood dream that became a reality. Live music performed by Mt. Calvary Baptist Church Ensemble and The LeGrair Brothers: Durrell, Emmanuel, and Jaron. akronurbanleague.org/events/annual-mlk-breakfast/.

Kent State MLK celebration

The Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration: Will be held at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Kent Student Center Ballroom, 1075 Risman Drive, Kent. Kent State University welcomes Dr. Bernice A. King as the program keynote. Dr. King is a global thought leader, strategist, solutionist, orator, peace advocate, and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), which was founded by her mother as the official living memorial to the life, work, and legacy of her father. In this position, Bernice continues to advance her parents’ legacy of nonviolent social change through policy, advocacy, research, as well as education & training through the Kingian philosophy of nonviolence, which she re-branded Nonviolence365™️ (NV365). This ticketed event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available on Jan. 11. To redeem your ticket, go to www.kent.edu/diversity/mlk.

Public health discussions

Elevating Voices, Embracing Identities: Supporting the Public Health of Black LGBTQ+ Communities in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr,: Noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 3. This program will address the ongoing health disparities faced by the Black LGBTQ+ community in Summit County, particularly in regards to mental health, disabilities, and experiences of abuse and discrimination. For more information, go to https://www.kent.edu/diversity/mlk-celebration-calendar-events.

NAACO hybrid breakfast

NAACO 2023 Hybrid MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast: 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 14 at Kent United Church of Christ, 1400 E. Main St., Kent. The Theme of the breakfast is “This is Power” (the community coming together) with speaker Pastor Patricia Dennison, Senior Pastor of Ravenna Avenue Church of God. In person breakfast starts at 9 a.m. Zoom option is also available. To register, go to https://tinyurl.com/PCNAACPMLK2023.

Cleveland MLK recital

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Recital: 3 p.m. Jan. 15 at Bop Stop, 2920 Detroit Ave., Cleveland. A concert celebrating the life and mission of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through music and the written word. Tickets are free, but reservations are required. For more information, go to https://www.themusicsettlement.org.

MLK Day at Great Lakes Science Center

Great Lakes Science Center Free MLK Day Entry: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 16 at 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland. The Science Center will have special programming throughout the day including live science shows such as Bubblemania and Seeing Sound, hands-on science cart activities where guests can learn about string resonance and invisibility, and more. Employees from NASA’s Glenn Research Center will facilitate an open-forum discussion to brainstorm and gather visitor perspectives on ways to help NASA reach new, more diverse audiences outside of NASA’s traditional community. For more information, go to http://greatscience.com.

Summit County Historical Society

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Society's John Brown House will be open for free from 1 to 3 p.m. Guests should park in the lot south of the John Brown House, 514 Diagonal Road, in Akron. John Brown led a raid in 1859 in an effort to end slavery in the United States. While that effort did not result in the immediate end to slavement, the Smithsonian Institution recognizes that Brown's raid is the beginning of the Civil War era.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023 events set in Akron Ohio