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Life and Religion

Annual Charlotte MLK celebration includes distanced holiday events
Virtual gatherings across multiple platforms
Published Saturday, January 16, 2021 10:10 am
by Ashley Mahoney

Charlotte's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration will include numerous virtual events.

Charlotte is preparing to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. virtually this year.

The weekend surrounding the national holiday, which takes place on Jan. 18 of this year, typically includes a number of in-person events, including a parade in Uptown. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a digital shift.

The city of Charlotte’s statement said: “Due to COVID-19, we will not be hosting the MLK parade in January and will be shifting to a virtual platform for other activities to honor Dr. King. While this was a difficult decision, the safety of our community and participants is our top priority.”

Highlights from previous parades will air on WSOC-TV, as well as stories about ways the community is honoring King’s legacy.

Additional city events include the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Service, which includes a wreath-laying ceremony. It will take place virtually.

Outside of city events, local cultural organizations have also taken a digital turn for Jan. 18 events.

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture coordinated a schedule for the whole weekend. Movie Nights will virtually feature films highlighting King’s legacy.
“I am MLK Jr.” will air on Jan. 15, followed by “Children’s March” on Jan. 16 and “The Dream Revisited” on Jan. 17. Each will begin at 7 p.m. The Jan. 18 schedule runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Their events are free and open to all ages and entirely virtual. Here is the lineup:

• 10 a.m. From Slavery to Civil Rights, an Aural History Tour

• 10:45 a.m. Panel discussion: Civil Rights in the 21st Century

• 12 p.m. “Our Friend Martin”

• 1 p.m. Phrases from the Movement

• 2:15 p.m. Live performance by Omar El-Amin

• 3:15 p.m. Panel discussion: Transformative Justice in Action

• 4:30 p.m. Live musical performance by Grammy and Dove-award-winning artist Rudy Currence

Levine Museum of the New South presents a celebration of King’s legacy through music, spoken word and visual art. Museum staff historian Willie Griffin will also speak to the historic impact of King. It will be livestreamed at 6 p.m. on the museum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Opera Carolina will host its annual Art Poetry Music. The virtual event is free and available for 24 hours via Opera Carolina’s Facebook page or through their virtual opera house.
The event will feature guests including Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, talk show host Ohavia Philips, opera singer Derrick Davis, who plays King in Opera Carolina’s rendition of Douglas Tappin’s “I Dream.” The day will also include visual artworks by Beverly Smith and Tony Moy, as well as an appearance from Charlotte’s Community Virtual Choir.

Other performers include sopranos Dawn Anthony and Sequina DuBose, bass Jordan Bisch, the Lovell Bradford Quartet, tenors Johnnie Felder and Johnathan White and poet Boris “Bluz” Rogers. The creative team features James Kevin Gray, Quentin Talley, David Tang, Frank McGinnis and Emily Jarrell Urbanek.

For more information:


For more information about the Gantt Center:


For more information about the Levine Museum:


For more on Opera Carolina:




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