Remembering King

8 Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Houston

There are service opportunities, parades, virtual events, and more to mark the Civil Rights icon’s special day.

By Shelby Stewart and Geneva Diaz

Statue in honor of Martin Luther King in Washington, DC.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the life and legacy of one of the most recognized heroes of the Civil Rights Movement in American history.

It was in Houston back in 1960, that Reverend Doctor Martin Luther. King, Jr. was first inspired to follow his dream of civil rights when the first sit-in to protest desegregated lunch counters was staged by Texas Southern University students at Weingartens Supermarket on Alameda.

Since then, we have honored Dr. King by celebrating and serving the community. Whether you are celebrating with friends and family at any of the two MLK Day parades in Houston or using the day to volunteer, MLK Day is a day to reflect on the anti-racism efforts that Dr. King fought for and the plight of racial justice issues today.

Here is a list of ways Houston is showing its love on MLK Day:

Rothko Chapel 2023 Martin Luther King Installation

Monday, January 16 | Installations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., & 5 p.m. | 3900 Yupon St. | Free

This year, Rothko Chapel will present a series of audio installations throughout the day from some of Dr. King’s most profound speeches, including “I’ve Been to The Mountaintop,” “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” “The Other America,” and “I Have A Dream.” The quiet of the chapel will amplify Dr. King’s unmistakable voice. The free in-person drop-in event will go on throughout the day.

MLK Jr. Dream Catcher Bike Ride

Saturday, January 14 | 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. | 500 Clay St. | Free, but a donation is required to register.

This fun, outdoorsy, and socially distant activity allows you to bike around to the several locations MLK visited on his last trip to Houston. A 20-mile-long celebratory ride might feel long for some, butbring a friend and go at your own pace! Just be sure to arrive on time because the bike ride will start at 8 a.m. sharp on Saturday, January 14.

45th Annual MLK Parade and Festival Downtown

Monday, January 16 | 10:00 a.m. | 900 Bagby St. | Free

Curated by the Black Heritage Society Organization, this family-friendly event will feature plenty of art, music, and performances. The parade will start on the corner of Smith and Lamar. Monday, January 17 at 10 a.m. Following the parade, enjoy food, face painting, kid-friendly activities, and a live gospel concert featuring James Fortune and Zacardi Cortez at the MLK Festival located at City Hall, happening until 5 p.m.

29th Annual MLK Day Parade–Midtown

Monday, January 16 | 10:00 a.m. | San Jacinto Street & Elgin | Free

This year’s theme for the 29th Annual MLK Grande Parade is “Drum Majors For the Dream.” The parade will host 200 national and international performance groups, including 36 marching bands from across the U.S. It will feature multiple esteemed Grand Marshals and honorees, including Houston rapper and philanthropist Trae Tha Truth. The parade will be televised on CW 39-Houston Live and will showcase how Dr. King’s dream is fulfilled through diversity and unity.

MLK Service Project 2023

Monday, January 16 | 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. | 6401 Calhoun Rd. | Free, but registration is required.

Restoration Church will observe MLK Day by getting out to serve others. The church will host a community cleanup for Third Ward. Come out to join church members on a day of giving back and fellowship. Register for the community service project and get a free t-shirt at check-in. 

“Living the Dream” in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day

Monday, January 16 | 12 p.m. | 5401 Shadowbend Pl, The Woodlands, TX 77381 | Free

The Woodlands United Methodist Church invites everyone out for this free event. Pastor Rob Renfroe, who heads WUMC, will be the keynote speaker, and KTRK news anchor, Tom Abrahams, will emcee. The celebration includes performances from adult and children choirs, the acknowledgment of high school seniors partaking in an essay scholarship, and the “Drum Major” award recipient. 

27th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at the Children’s Museum

Saturday, January 14 | 10:00 a.m. - 6 p.m. | 1500 Binz St. | $5 special admission

The Children’s Museum of Houston is sharing Dr. King’s messages of unity and justice through special family-friendly programming. Kids of all ages are invited to learn more about Dr. King through a reenactment of his “I Have A Dream Speech,” a peace march, a sing-along to the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and more fun, immersive activities.

Dreams, Art, and Freedom: Martin Luther King Celebration at La Centerra

Saturday, January 14 | 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. | 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd, Katy, TX 77494 | Free

Central Green Park in La Centerra will celebrate Dr. King with a day of programming. Local students will perform throughout the day, and the event will close with a major headliner (who has yet to be announced). The art competition will be judged by Art Museum TX and Abrakadoodle. Expect performances from Cinco Strings CRHS, Z Alpha, and Tamar Davis. Take part in games and win prizes, including a $300 Guaranteed Clean Fun gift card, a $200 Magic Funny Mascot gift card, gift cards from Perry’s Grimaldi’s Dish Society, and more. 



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