Updated: March 17, 2014 1:53PM
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Special events in the area and beyond offer entertaining, informative and inspirational ways to remember and to honor King’s legacy.
† The annual MLK Jr. Day Celebration at Valparaiso University begins Thursday with a free performance at 5 p.m. by Shades of Gray, a local acoustic folk group. Their performance will kick off a week of programs focusing on this year’s theme “The Beloved Community.” These programs are open to the public, and most are free.
Tomorrow the public is invited to bring a lunch and join in any of the “community conversations” at eight locations across Valparaiso from noon to 1 p.m. The facilitated discussions will be based on King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Locations include the YMCA, Pines Village and the United Way Community Room.
Events on Monday at Valparaiso University include a 10 a.m. convocation in the Chapel of the Resurrection with keynote speaker Rev. John Nunes, CEO of Lutheran World Relief, plus focus groups on a variety of topics, including community building, caring for the climate, developing local minority businesses, community service and leadership.
Other MLK 2014 events include screenings of the film “Half the Sky,” a film exploring oppression of women and girls around the world, showing at 5 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Harre Union Ballroom, and a mock congressional-style debate on the stand your ground law at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22. Make reservations for the lecture entitled “The Ultimate Inhumanity of Slavery” by legal historian William E. Nelson at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 by going online to www.valpo.edu/law/mlk.
For complete details on MLK 2014 at Valparaiso University go online to www.valpo.edu/mlk/.
† The Chicago Sinfonietta’s annual tribute to King at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, will feature “Mountain Top,” the North American premiere of a multimedia work by Dutch composer Jacob TV. The program utilizes audio and video of King to portray him as “lead singer” of the work, backed by orchestra and chorus. The program will also include Morton Gould’s “Revival: a Fantasy on Six Spirituals,” a gospel choir and more.
Tickets are $15 to $54, with special $10 student tickets, and can be purchased by calling (312) 236-3681, Ext. 2, or online at www.chicagosinfonietta.org. A discussion with Jacob TV and horn player Nicole Cash begins one hour before the concert.
† The 19th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Day Celebration Breakfast at Purdue North Central will be held on Monday at the PNC Library, 1401 S. U.S. Highway 421 in Westville. Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., followed by the program at 8 a.m. Attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food items for local food pantries to this free event.
Attorney Tony Walker will be the featured speaker, talking on the life and legacy of King. The program will also include a vocal performance and a recitation of the “I Have a Dream” speech.
† King Day will be commemorated on Monday at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. in Chicago, with a full schedule that includes a choral performance and reenactments of King’s “I Have a Dream” and Nobel Prize acceptance speeches. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for ages 13 to 22, and free for children age 12 and younger.
† On Monday, the Indiana Historical Society Museum, 450 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis, is offering a special free admission day (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST) in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Hands-on activities throughout the day, a storyteller presentation at 12:30 pm, and two special civil rights exhibits are planned.
† The Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington Street in Indianapolis, will offer free admission on Monday with the donation of a canned good for a local food bank. Special activities and demonstrations are planned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
† The School of the Joffrey Ballet will offer an African dance master class on Monday from noon to 1 p.m., in honor of King. This class will offer an introduction to African dance with a variety of traditional African dance steps taught, accompanied by live drummers. The class is appropriate for all levels of experience.
Cost of the class is $15 per person. Space is limited and reservations must be made by Friday by calling (312) 784-4800 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
† On Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m., Indiana University Northwest will host a presentation “Incognito,” a one-man play exploring race and identity. This autobiographical play by Michael Sidney Fosberg tells his story of being raised in a working class white family in Suburban Chicago, then learning a life-changing fact at age 34: his biological father is black.
This free performance is open to the community will be held in the Bergland Auditorium of IU Northwest’s Savannah Center at 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Gary. Parking costs $2 and requires a permit available in the lot from a kiosk at 33rd Avenue and Jefferson.