Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Christian minister whose powerful voice was the most influential of the Civil Rights movement, from his beginnings in the mid 1950s, to his tragic assassination in 1968. His presence alone helped build the foundation of many legislative acts toward equality that would transform our country and the world. And while there is still so much further to go, his message of hope, love and unity still rings true to this day. He and the many active followers of the cause traveled around the country spreading the message–even to our very city. Remembering his legacy this MLK Day (January 20th), take a look at how his presence lives on in Miami:
‘Miami has a special claim to Dr. King. He visited the city regularly and would stay at the Historic Hampton House in Liberty City when he visited. The hotel was the place to be for the black community in Miami, and other notables who stayed there include Muhammad Ali, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jackie Robinson and many others. In fact, Dr. King delivered an early version of his “I Have A Dream” speech at the Hampton House in 1960.’ [Source]
Historic Hampton House
In 1977, Miami was the first city in the country to organize a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade with the leadership of Preston Marshall. Because of his already established relationship with the Liberty City neighborhood, the parade–and the eventual re-naming of the street–were more than befitting the area. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard runs east to west along NW 62nd Street from Biscayne Boulevard to Hialeah, through the Liberty City community, as well as neighboring Little Haiti and Brownsville. Along the way, you’ll pass the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park with a bronze statue in his tribute, as well as a striking mural by the late artist Oscar Thomas that honors the reverend and is still untouched in all its glory today.
On Nov. 3, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill marking the third Monday of January, as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While all national holidays are tainted by the satisfaction of not having work or school, this one in particular weighs so heavily on the very essence of our country’s history and rich cultures that have called it home through the centuries. In Miami, many events and happenings are taking place to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., so here’s how you can pay your respects:
MLK Parade Miami Sponsored by Rubenstein Law – Beginning at 11 a.m. in Liberty City, the 8-mile route for the oldest, largest MLK Holiday parade in the U.S. runs from NW 54th St. & 10th Ave. to 32nd Ave. Keep an eye out RLaw at the Parade! We’ll be there along with the floats; federal, state, & local officials; police & military units; historic pioneers; marching bands; dance & drill teams; equestrians; classic & exotic cars; motorcycles; civic, church, community, veteran, corporate & trade union groups.
Where: Liberty City. Time: 11AM. Tickets: Free.
37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 5K Run & Fitness Walk – In it’s 37th year, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Annual 5K Run and Fitness walk, sponsored by the Progressive Officers Club, Inc. (POC), will take place on Monday, January 20, 2020. This race takes place in the heart of Northwest Miami-Dade County, on a flat surface along the MLK parade route. Look for another year of great competition, good company, and a host of great prizes! All proceeds benefit the Miami-Dade Police Explorers.
Where: MLK Jr Metorail Station. Time: 8AM. Tickets: Free.
National Park Fee-Free Day – In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, all national parks will waive their admission fees on Monday. Take advantage of this opportunity to #FindYourPark. For more information about what you can see at Everglades and Biscayne national parks, please visit www.nps.gov
MJC Monday JAZZ | Celebrating Jazz in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – Brenda Alford leads a celebration of jazz in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrating Jazz in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. directed by Brenda Alford. Featuring jazz and dramatic readings of the words of Dr. King.
Where: Open Stage Club. Time: 10:30PM. Tickets: Get them here.
MLK Parade – Greater Miami and the Beaches
MLK Day in Miami Gardens – Join Mayor Oliver Gilbert and the City of Miami Gardens for a day of service and empowerment honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There will be informational booths, food trucks and other vendors present at the event. Hosts: Stitches and Papa Keith – 103.5 FM personalities; Special Guest: Professor Griff, social justice activist; Entertainment: Halle Rae, April Raquel and more.
Where: Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex. Time: 12PM. Tickets: Free.
“The Birth of a Dream” Dinner and Tour – Visit the Historic Space where Martin Luther King Jr. first had his dream for our community. Experience the birthplace where King actually put pen to paper and wrote this historic literary masterpiece, “The Birth of a Dream.”
Where: Historic Hampton House. Time: January 19th, 4PM. Tickets: $35.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service – Join the City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez for a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the Virrick Park improvements and Day of Service volunteer project.
Where: Elizabeth Virrick Park. Time: 10AM. Tickets: Free.
NetFLIC: In Their Footsteps Film Screening – Join CAIR Florida and the Florida Immigrant Coalition for our NetFLIC Screening of “In Their Footsteps” in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. We will be having a discussion after the film around the importance of intersectionality and continuing the fight against racial injustice and the oppressive systems that continue to target black and brown communities. We will also have a space to imagine what real liberation looks like, especially during these critical times and how we can continue the important work of breaking down these systems and uniting together!
Where: Florida Immigrant Coalition. Time: 5:30PM. Tickets: Free.
In Their Footsteps
MLK Day Of Service | Clean Up, Native Planting, & Nonprofit Expo – Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a “day on, not a day off.” MLKDay of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” This year, join us for a Day Of Service at Virginia Key North Point Park with the Virginia Key Outdoor Center, Commissioner Ken Russel, and local nonprofits!
Where: Virginia Key Outdoor Center. Time: 9AM. Tickets: Register here.
Cover photo: WBTV.