Exploring Local MLK Day Festivities and Black History Activities

Exploring Local MLK Day Festivities and Black History Activities

Exploring Local MLK Day Festivities and Black History Activities

Martin Luther King Jr. is a name that holds great significance in American history. His role in the Civil Rights Movement and his message of peace, equality, and justice continue to inspire people around the world. Every year, on the third Monday of January, we honor Dr. King’s legacy with a federal holiday. This year, the Northern Virginia community will come together to celebrate Dr. King’s life and teachings through various events and activities.

A Weekend of Celebration

The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center are hosting a series of events to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The weekend kicks off on Saturday, January 13th at 4 pm with a Tribute to Dr. King at the Reston Community Center. The event will feature music by Bologne, Coleridge-Taylor, Joplin, Pryor, and others, honoring Dr. King’s legacy through song. Soprano Alia Waheed and students from Al Fatih Academy will also be performing.

At the same time on Saturday, The Alden at McLean Community Center will be hosting “MICHAEL STEELE: “THE BLACK EXPERIENCE & THE AMERICAN DREAM” as part of their Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. Michael Steele, the first black chairperson of the Republican National Committee, will engage in a dialogue about the Black experience in the context of the American Dream. This event is open to all ages and will tackle hard-hitting topics.

Music of Change

On Sunday, January 14th at 3 pm, The Alden will continue their celebration with “Calvin Earl: Music of the Civil Rights Movement.” Singer/songwriter/guitarist/storyteller and activist Calvin Earl will lead an uplifting class on the music of the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. He aims to bring people together through music and help them imagine a better future. The event will also include a Q&A session.

Nat King Cole Remembered

Music has always been a powerful tool in bringing about change, and this is evident in the life and career of Nat King Cole. On Sunday, January 14th at 7:30 pm, Creative Cauldron will be presenting “The Other Side of Nat King Cole,” a tribute to the legendary musician. Award-winning jazz and soul vocalist Alison Crockett will perform some of Nat King Cole’s well-known and lesser-known songs with her unique arrangements and interpretations. The show also features some of the DC area’s finest jazz musicians.

A Powerful Story

On February 3rd and 4th, Virginia Opera will present “Sanctuary Road” at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University. This contemporary opera tells the story of William Still, an African American leader on the Underground Railroad who helped more than 800 enslaved people escape to freedom. The opera is based on Still’s book and features music by Paul Moravec and libretto by Mark Campbell. It was praised for its “riveting, pulsating wall of sound” during its premiere in 2020 at Carnegie Hall in New York. This performance will also feature the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

A Fusion of Dance Styles

As part of the Mason Artists-in-Residence program, the Center for the Arts at George Mason University will be presenting “A.I.M by Kyle Abraham” on February 17th. Choreographer Kyle Abraham has developed a unique dance aesthetic that combines elements from different styles to create his signature postmodern gumbo. His company aims to showcase Black culture and history through contemporary dance. The performance will also include classes and workshops for the community.

A Celebration of Common Ground

The Jewish and African American communities have a shared history of oppression and struggle for equal rights. This common ground is celebrated in “Soul to Soul” on February 18th at The Centerstage at RCC Hunters Woods. The event brings together African American and Yiddish American experiences through music, starring Lisa Fishman, Cantor Magda Fishman, Elmore James, Zalmen Mlotek, and Tony Perry.

A Cinematic Experience

To wrap up the month-long celebration of Black history and culture, ArtsFairfax will be hosting “ArtScreen: A Great Day in Harlem” on February 23rd. The film follows the making of a historic photograph featuring over 50 jazz musicians in Harlem, New York. The event will be held at the Stacy C. Sherwood Center in Fairfax City and is free for all to attend.

Join the Celebration

From music to dialogue to dance, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black history in Northern Virginia. These events not only honor Dr. King’s legacy but also showcase the impact of Black culture and history on our society. Don’t miss out on these exciting and thought-provoking events. For more information and tickets, visit ArtsFairfax’s website. Let’s come together to celebrate diversity, unity, and progress.  See you there!