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Martin Luther King Day 2013

Philadelphia Honors Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Molly Gavin

Martin Luther King, one of the worlds most influential civil rights activists, was born on January 15, 1929. He dedicated his life to the advancement of civil rights through nonviolent protest. He earned a Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as one of the greatest speakers in American history for his iconic "I Have a Dream Speech." Shortly after his assassination in 1968 there began a campaign to observe his birthday as a national holiday. Fifteen years and a 6-million-signature-petition later Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law. Martin Luther King Day has been observed on the third Monday of January every year since. Along with George Washington and Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King is one of only three persons in the United States to have a national holiday in their honor. Philadelphia has a special way of observing the holiday: to make positive contributions to our community through volunteerism. The Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service is the largest Martin Luther King Day event in the United States. Last year more than 100,000 volunteers served in over 1,500 King Day of service projects. In addition to organized volunteer opportunities there are also special events, performances, a job fair and free or reduced admission to museums around the city.

MLK Day and Inauguration Day at the National Constitution Center: In honor of Martin Luther King and the 2nd inauguration of President Obama admission to the National Constitution Center is free all day. Participate in a sewing service project for the Women Against Abuse Shelter as well as interactive, educational programs and arts and crafts projects. Local actors and students will perform Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" Speech. Obama's inauguration will be broadcast thoughout the state-of-the-art museum.

The 2nd Annual MLK Day Jobs and Opportunities Fair: Job seekers will have the chance to meet potential employers and the opportunity to participate in workshops on resume writing, interview skills, credit repair and more. The event is from 9am to 1pm inside the Hum Building at Girard College.

MLK Family Day at the National Museum of American Jewish History: Check out the National Museum of American Jewish History's current exhibition, From Swastika to Jim Crow, which addresses the evolution of civil rights in the U.S. Artists from Philadelphia's Mural Arts program will lead an arts and crafts workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm. Admission is free all day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Arts & Service Workshop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Normally closed on Mondays, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will open in it's doors in honor of Martin Luther King Day and offer "pay what you can" admission. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in arts and crafts projects with museum educators. Guests will create greeting cards for people dealing with life threatening illness that will be attached to home delivered meals by the Metropolitan Area neighborhood Nutrition Alliance.

11th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute at the Kimmel Center: Young performers from local high schools put on a free show at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The show is from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Commemoration & Day of Service at the African American Museum in Philadelphia: The African American Museum in Philadelphia seeks to tell the story of African American life, art, history and experience. Enjoy free admission all day, catch a break dance workshop and explore the museum's exhibitions.

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