They Still Dream — Community Museums Hold up Legacy of Dr. King  

The 87th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Is almost here.  

Across Detroit and metro Detroit, organizations, and entities locally are looking at the Civil Rights leader’s life with intentionality to honor Dr. King’s achievements and works.   

Here are two museums giving back in a big way to invite the very communities Dr. King inspired to learn more about him.  

Dr. King and Voting  

The Detroit Historical Museum is holding a free event, “MLK Day: Give Us the Ballot” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, January 17 at the Detroit Historical Museum.  

During the day’s activities, visitors can participate in a voter registration project for children and listen to an expert discuss the importance of registering to vote. Kids will make their own ‘mock’ voter registration cards and receive MLK worksheets and coloring pages.  

Other scheduled activities include:  

  •   A presentation by City of Detroit Arts & Culture Director Rochelle Riley, who will discuss her book – That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World at 10:15 a.m. & 10:45 a.m.   
  •   The museum store will offer a 20% discount on the book that day.  
  •  Guided tours of the exhibit Detroit 67: Perspectives at 10:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.  
  •   A spoken word and rap performance by Aleca Gleser at 11:30 a.m.  
  •  Cupcakes and singing of “Happy Birthday” at 1:30 p.m. followed by “We Shall Overcome”  
  • Support for this event has been provided by the Detroit Historical Society’s Black Historic Sites Committee.  

The Detroit Historical Society is an independent non-profit organization that manages the Detroit Historical Museum in Midtown and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle while caring for an outstanding collection of 250,000+ historic artifacts. The Society presents hundreds of educational tours, programs, workshops, and lectures annually. Founded in 1921, the Detroit Historical Society has worked for 100 years to foster an appreciation of our region’s rich history, telling Detroit’s stories and why they matter.   

The Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward Ave. (NW corner of Kirby) in Midtown Detroit. The Detroit Historical Museum is currently open to the public with abbreviated hours (Thursday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.), with enhanced health and safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Historical content and virtual tours and exhibits are available at  

Permanent exhibits include the famous Streets of Old Detroit, the Allesee Gallery of Culture, Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad, Detroit: The “Arsenal of Democracy,” the Gallery of Innovation, Frontiers to Factories, America’s Motor City, and The Glancy Trains.  

Dr. King at The Wright 

A Virtual MLK Day Celebration is on tap on the Monday holiday at the Charles H. Wright Museum, January 17. 

Attendees are invited to dig deeper to learn the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with The Wright, according to their website.  

The event, Presented by Citizens, will have a 2022 virtual keynote speaker, former U.S. Ambassador and civil rights icon, Andrew Young. Video presentations begin at 9 am and 1 pm EST. Registration is not required. Also, at noon, an Andrew Young Documentary Screening will take place, presented by Ford Motor Company Fund. To participate, all visitors are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before arrival, according to the website. 


Dr. King at Henry Ford  

In Dearborn at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be celebrated from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. on January 17.  

The museum is celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights leaders who “had the extraordinary courage to ask for more from their nation” by offering a free “day of inspiration.”  

According to their website, to prioritize the safety of their guests and staff, capacity will be limited and monitored at the door. If capacity is reached, attendees are asked to be prepared for entry delays or queues. Reservations are not required at the time of article publication.  

Henry Ford guests also have the opportunity to view the Rosa Parks Bus and listen to the story of her brave act, according to their website. People could also make their statement in the interactive program Minds on Freedom, highlighting the contributions of Dr. King, Mrs. Parks, and civil rights champions like the Freedom Riders. Then feel free to explore the proud and often-challenging evolution of American freedom in the exhibit With Liberty and Justice for All.  

Envoy Artee Lewis with The Salvation Army Temple Corps, in his pastoral role and with his holy army, on Detroit’s West Side (at 3729 W. Chicago Blvd.), told the Michigan Chronicle previously that helping those most in need, even with giving encouragement, is important. This is especially evident as so many give in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. as he is remembered for his loving messages and charitable works as his birthday nears.   

“Dr. King was out to, of course, help everybody and we want to definitely be a blessing to the community,” Lewis said. “I think one of the things we definitely want to do is let people know that we love them; that God loves them and we’re here to help … in their time of need.”   



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