President Lyndon B. Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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January 8, 2018
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Guide to Observing 2018 Martin Luther King Day in San Francisco

On Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, San Francisco will be the setting for a number of special events to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Many of the events take place in Yerba Buena Gardens where the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial is located. Situated behind a 50-foot-high waterfall, the memorial to King is the third largest in the U.S. It includes photos from the Civil Rights movement and 12 panels inscribed with Dr. King’s words including excerpts from his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the march on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “The Urgency of Now.” Commenting of the theme Aaron Grizzell, executive director, Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation (NorcalMLK Foundation), producers of the MLK Day events, says it offers an opportunity for a “second New Year’s resolution” to determine “what you want to do in bettering your community.”

There will be many activities going on simultaneously as part of the annual celebration.

In addition to these scheduled events, be sure to visit some of the historic sites on the San Francisco African American Freedom Trail which includes a newly designated city landmark, Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister St.

Celebration Train
In partnership with the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation and Caltrain, there will be a free Celebration Train departing at 9:45 a.m. from the San Jose Rod Diridon Train Station at 65 Cahill St., San Jose, followed by stops in Palo Alto and San Mateo. Tickets must be secured in advance. The San Francisco Caltrain station, Fourth and King streets, is within walking distance for commemorative events at Yerba Buena Gardens and the Museum of the African Diaspora. BART is also offering 5,000 flash passes to local community groups. SFMTA (Muni) will be offering a commemorative pass program; 5,000 passes are available at the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (MONS), Room 160, City Hall.

March and Parade
11 a.m.
The annual march and parade which is produced by the NorcalMLK Foundation draws members of the the San Francisco Interfaith Council, local leaders and their congregants to the event and subsequent activities to be held at Yerba Buena Gardens, Third and Howard streets. The march/parade will begin at Fourth and Berry streets and turn east to Third Street, proceeding north on Third Street to Howard and Yerba Buena Gardens. Spiritual leaders from a variety of faith traditions will remember both the vision and sacrifice of Dr. King.

1 p.m.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Yerba Buena Gardens
700 Howard St.
Dr. King’s words will be brought to life in conversations with Civil Rights movement and political luminaries and performances by celebrated artists. Among the highlights are a special program featuring a social justice panel moderated by two-time Peabody Award-winning investigative journalist and performer Al Letson. There will be film screenings for the eighth annual Liberation Film Festival in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Museum of the African Diaspora.

Throughout the day in addition to the march/parade, the celebration will include among other activities (locations vary):
Labor and community breakfast
Health and wellness festival
Black Comix Arts Festival
Music festival

Additional events on Jan. 15, 2018 include:

Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission St.
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Museum of the African Diaspora will celebrate the national observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a day of service. Admission will be free to the museum and programs will be held throughout the day. Among the highlights are performances by Dimensions Dance Company, sidewalk chalk art, a family drumming workshop with Loco Bloco and a number of activations around MoAD’s exhibition “En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean.” “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” a 65-minute documentary will be shown throughout the day in the Freedom Theatre.

Children’s Creativity Museum
221 Fourth St.
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Design a square for the peace quilt are help construct San Francisco’s newest symbol of unity, a bridge. Free activities also include DIY chalk mural and crafting a scratch board.

Youth Speaks: Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nourse Theater, 275 Hayes St.
7 p.m.
Every year Youth Speaks gathers the community to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The annual “Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” celebration is a showcase for young people who will express in their own words original work about Dr. King. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 youth.

Also planned are:

Jan. 13, 2018
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Revelations
de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., Golden Gate Park
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Among the activities offered at the de Young Museum are complimentary admission to “Revelations: Art from the African American South,” and the permanent collections; performances; lectures; art making, and film screenings, including “In the Hour of Chaos: The Untold Story of Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.”

Jan. 13-15, 2018
Black Comix Arts Festival (BCAF)
Main Library, 100 Larkin St.
City View at Metreon, 135 Fourth St.
The fourth edition of the Black Comix Arts Festival celebrates the creativity and subjectivity of African Americans in the comic arts and popular visual culture, and it includes an exposition, kids’ activity, special guest artist presentations, film screenings and much more. BCAF begins on Sunday, Jan.13 at noon at the San Francisco Public Library's Main Library and continues through Monday, Jan. 15, with additional activities at City View at Metreon. The African American Center at the Main Library will present “If Superpowers Could Save My Community,” featuring comic book covers drawn by youth in the San Francisco Juvenile Hall.

Jan. 14, 2018
Grace Cathedral
1100 California St.
3 p.m. Interfaith MLK Evensong
4 p.m. King and Faith: The Urgency of Now
With a homily by Rev. Yolanda Norton and music by soprano Hope Briggs, Evensong will be followed by the first of Grace Cathedral’s King and Faith Forum Series, panel conversations in partnership with the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation on the MLK 2018 theme, The Urgency of Now. The Forum series continues on Sunday, Jan. 21 and Sunday, Jan. 28.

African American Freedom Trail
The San Francisco African American Freedom Trail tells how African-American pioneers locally changed the world.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy New Delhi / CC-BY-ND 2.0

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