3 Ways to Celebrate
Martin Luther King Day in Philly

This photo — trom the Jack T. Franklin Photography Collection of the African American Museum in Philadelphia — shows Rev. King posing with the Philadelphia delegation of the Montgomery Civil Rights March in 1965.

This photo — from Philly’s African American Museum — shows Rev. King posing with the Philadelphia delegation of the Montgomery Civil Rights March in 1965.

Our daily roundup of what’s happening today in Philly. This go round, we’ve got three of the city’s best MLK Day Celebrations.

Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) wraps up its weekend-long Martin Luther King celebrations with an afternoon of readings, MLK-centric prison tours and a chance to create some art. Today at, 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. professional actors will present a live reading of King’s famous Letter From Birmingham Jail followed by a Q&A with a civil rights scholar. If you’re bringing kids along, or if you’re in a particularly crafty mood, Art Sanctuary will set up stations for guests to create works in response to the text. There will also be guided tours of the museum, with an emphasis on how the civil rights movement affected inmates at ESP, and how they reacted when they heard the news of MLK’s assassination. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., readings are free but reservations are required, $10-$14 for tours, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave., easternstate.org.


This is kind of a no-brainer: The African American Museum of Philadelphia (AAMP) is free for the entire day and filled to the brim with activities — starting at 11 a.m. with a "Scavenger Hunt for Heritage" and ending at 5 p.m. with Commemoration Program featuring entertainment from the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble. I recommend showing up at 12 for the Civil Rights Movement Break Dance Program, then stay for a stroll through the exhibits. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free, African American Museum of Philadelphia, 701 Arch St., aampmuseum.org

The Trocadero is screening Ryan Coogler's 2013 bio-pic Fruitvale Station. The moving true story offers a peek into the final day of Oscar Grant III, the 22-year-old African-American father who was wrongfully gunned down by a police officer in an Oakland, Calif. BART station in 2009. As I'm sure you'll remember, the incident caught the nation's attention, sparking heated debates about law enforcement and racial profiling. Good thing it's screening at the Troc, where a bar will be stocked with all the calm-your-nerves suds and spirits you can handle. 8 p.m., $3, The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., thetroc.com

And just in case three isn't enough ...

The Franklin Institute will blast MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech on the walls of Franklin Hall at the top of every hour along with a series of special events.

The National Museum of American Jewish History is free all day. It's hosting special activities, like Philly muralists who will paint your words on a colorful mural and a screening of From Swastika to Jim Crow with filmmaker Steve Fischler.

It's pay-what-you-wish day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where you will find entertainment from The Camden Sophisticated Sisters & The Distinguished Brothers of CSS.

Philly KJ Sara Sherr invites songbirds to sing civil-rights-era tunes at her MLK Day '60s Karaoke event at Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.