Martin Luther King Day events for kids around Milwaukee

For many students in the Milwaukee area, next Monday, January 16th is a delightful day off of school.But it’s also more than that, of course. It’s a day to reflect on and celebrate the life of an important civil rights hero. And the holiday presents an opportunity to discuss important topics with your children.

Here are three fun local events to celebrate the day with your kids:

1. “Everybody Can Be Great”

A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, Jan. 16th

10:30 a.m.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center

1531 West Vliet Street, Milwaukee(414) 344-5600

Join us for a day in honor of Dr. King. This year’s King Day Celebration will feature music, dance, spoken word, tours and guest speaker Tyra McFarland, Community Relations Coordinator for the Milwaukee Bucks.

There will be 200 ticket tokens for the Milwaukee Bucks game available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the 10:30 a.m. program. A bus will leave at 2:00 p.m. for game. (Minors must be accompanied by an adult.)

From 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., there will be a Youth DJ Dance Party with King Advisory, Inc., in partnership with Fresh Empire, for youths ages 13-17. Snacks will be available for purchase. Wearing all black attire is suggested. The dance is limited to 250 youths with school or King Center ID’s.

2. 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration

Sunday, January 15th

1:00 p.m.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Free Event

The only cities that have celebrated Dr. King’s Birthday annually since 1984 are Atlanta, Georgia and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Always taking place in the month of January, this event focuses on keeping the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alive.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration programming highlights the youth in our community who every year interpret Dr. King’s words through an art, speech and writing contest.In addition, various cultural arts organizations take center stage in Uihlein Hall, truly demonstrating the excellence of our arts community.

Some of the groups celebrating with us this year include United Indians of Milwaukee, Riverside University H.S. Swing Choir, Hip Hop Cellist— Malik Johnson, Hmong American Peace Academy, Milwaukee H.S. of the Arts student and Jazz singer— Kaprice Maxwell, the Milwaukee Flyers Tumbling Team, and more!

The theme for this year is: “We Shall Overcome”

3. Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Library

Martin Luther King Library (Community Room)

Monday, January 16th

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Entertainment and activities for the whole family will be featured throughout the day, including live performances by Afro-Brazilian percussion group, the Kevin Hayden Band, and the Signature Dance Company.

Crafts throughout the day will include a King Day collage, button making, and dream books. crafts, and activities. What do you dream of creating that will bring peace to your community and to your own life? Do you have an idea to help people get along? Participants will write about their dreams and create tiny how-to books to take home.

You can also check out an interactive timeline that will feature the life and legacy of Dr. King and civil rights in Milwaukee. You’ll have the chance to write down and share your personal experiences with those events and how they have directly impacted your life.

End on a sweet note by decorating a peace cookie with family and friends.

Talking to kids about Martin Luther King Jr.

Recognizing a federal holiday affords the perfect opportunity to talk with kids about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. Depending on your child’s age, you can talk with them about interesting factual information, or delve deeper into topics surrouding racism. has put together five interesting facts about Dr. King that you can use as a springboard for a discussion.

They also provide a helpful guide to talking to kids about racism.

Finally, what better way to commemorate this important day than by actually watching Dr. King’s historic speeches? Here is a link to Dr. King’s full “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington and his “I have been to the mountaintop” speech.

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