In addition to Vanderbilt’s sponsored Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities, there are many activities around town that will allow you to get off campus and still celebrate the holiday. With Tennessee as a major part of the Civil Rights Movement, don’t waste your holiday in bed. The Hustler breaks down where you can go to take advantage of the rich history of this state and celebrate the day the right way.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Marches
Every year, Nashville organizes an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March. This year, the march begins at 9:45 a.m. at the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church (2708 Jefferson Street). Following the march, there will be a convocation at Tennessee State University’s Gentry Complex (3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.). Due to this year’s march coinciding with Inauguration Day, participants will have the option of viewing the swearing-in ceremony and inaugural address. Nashville mayor Karl Dean will be in attendance.
Additionally, the city of Murfreesboro will also hold a march and gathering in honor of Dr. King at 11:30 a.m. beginning at Central Magnet School (701 East Main Street). The march will continue to Patterson Park Community Center in Murfreesboro. Following the march, Donald Whitmore will recite one of Dr. King’s speeches and the community center will also carry live coverage of President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony and inaugural address
Nashville Public Library Civil Rights Collection
Although closed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Nashville Public Library offers a year-round collection commemorating Nashville’s importance in the Civil Rights Movement. The collection houses numerous black-and-white photographs from The Tennessean and Nashville Banner newspapers amongst other memorabilia. In particular, the library highlights the Nashville sit-ins that begin in 1960 at many downtown establishments as a way to call attention to desegregation. The library is located at 615 Church Street. For further information, and a sample of the many photographs at the collection, visit the collection’s website at www.library.nashville.org/civilrights.
Memphis’ “King Day” at the National Civil Rights Museum
If wanting to truly commemorate the day, take a day trip to Memphis to check out the National Civil Rights Museum. On Monday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., the Museum will host “King Day,” a celebration of Dr. King’s life featuring live music, arts and crafts sections, storytelling, food vendors and door prizes. The 2013 theme is “EDUCATION EQUITY: Creating A Movement in the Community.” Many educational and civic workers will be present to distribute information about a variety of organizations and ways to volunteer.
For the holiday, admission is reduced to $3 per person. However, if you bring a canned good food item, the price of admission is further reduced to only $2. LifeBlood Mid-South regional centers will also be conducting a blood drive throughout the day for those wishing to donate blood. For those who donate one pint, you can receive free admission for up to four people.
With the exception of the Lorraine Motel balcony — the site of Dr. King’s 1968 assassination — the museum’s normal attractions will also be available to the public. The National Civil Rights Museum is located at 450 Mulberry Street in Memphis, Tenn. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.civilrightsmuseum.org.