Can’t Miss Alabama honors King’s dream with virtual and in-person events

Can’t Miss Alabama honors King’s dream with virtual and in-person events
Engage in community service projects around the state honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Getty Images)

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Alabamians reflect and remember MLK Day


Montgomery Jazz and Lyric Celebration 

The Montgomery Martin Luther King Day Committee will host a Jazz and Lyric Celebration at the Renaissance Hotel Friday, Jan. 14 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free, but registration is required.

‘King in the Wilderness’ virtual screening

Participants will learn more about King’s character, his radical doctrine of nonviolence and his internal philosophical struggles prior to his death. The virtual screening will invite a sense of penetrating intimacy and insight into one of the most profound thinkers of our time. The University of Alabama will present the screening Friday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at UA’s Intercultural Diversity Center in Tuscaloosa. Register at “King in the Wilderness” Virtual Screening.

MLK Day 5K Drum Run

The annual MLK Day 5K Drum Run is a fun and active event to celebrate MLK festivities on Saturday, Jan. 15. Since its 2012 inception, the race has grown to more than 2,000 runners and walkers and has featured more than 200 drummers from metro area schools and groups. Registration is $30, and the races will begin at 8 a.m. at  the Fourth Avenue Historic District of Birmingham’s Civil Rights District.

The Drifters, Cornell Gunter’s Coasters and The Platters in concert

The Drifters, Cornell Gunter’s Coasters and The Platters will be together, singing their hits at the Alabama Theatre on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m., representing three Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legendary groups on the same stage. With more than 94 charted records and 45 Top 10 hits combined, you’ll hear favorites like “Under The Boardwalk,” “Stand By Me,” “On Broadway,” “This Magic Moment,” “Up On The Roof,” “Save The Last Dance for Me,” “Yakety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” “Poison Ivy,” “Only You,” “The Great Pretender,” “Magic Touch” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.” For ticket information and upcoming events, visit the website.

Five Points West Community Cleanup

The Five Points West Community will have its annual community cleanup Monday, Jan. 17. There will be two community cleanup shifts: Participants who want to volunteer for the first shift from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. must register by 9 a.m. Participants who want to volunteer for the second shift from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. must register by noon. Onsite registration will take place in the horticulture parking lot behind the Birmingham CrossPlex at 2337 Bessemer Road. Link here for online registration.

MLK Classic Step Show in Dothan

The Wiregrass Area Pan-Hellenic Council will feature fraternities and sororities at its annual step show. The event will be virtual Monday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. Admission is $10.

Alabama Symphony Orchestra concert

Maestro Carlos Izcaray will conduct Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony Jan. 14-15, a triumphant portrayal of the composer’s spar with fate and destiny. Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) principal trombone Jay Evans will join the orchestra for Martin Kennedy’s Trombone Concerto. Audience members must wear masks inside the venue. Seating capacity will be limited and the audience will be distanced throughout the hall (many subscribers will not be able to sit in their usual seats). Click here to read more about COVID-19 protocols. Due to social distancing, ASO will not hold concert comments. The conductor will incorporate brief comments into the concert. The concert will be at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. Stay updated at

Realizing King’s Dream

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) will commemorate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free gallery tours, live performances and virtual programs. While tickets will be free, they must be reserved online to limit attendance and promote physical social distancing. COVID-19 safety protocols will be strictly enforced. Registration is required for virtual and in-person events:

9 a.m.: Free self-guided tours of BCRI historic galleries.

10 a.m.: Remarks from Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and BCRI partners.

  • Performance by Carleton Reese Memorial Choir.
  • West African drumming with Sahi On Ko Djony.

Noon: Greetings from FedEx. (virtual)

  • Realizing King’s Dream Virtual Conversation. (virtual)
  • Ashley M. Jones “Reparations Now” book signing in the gift store.

2 p.m.: An Examination into the Historical Context and Background of Diversity Education. (virtual)

4 p.m.: Critical Race Theory with Harvard University interns. (virtual)

5 p.m.: Encore Broadcast: Collaborative Reading of “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” (virtual)

For virtual features, tune in to YouTube and Facebook for a daylong MLK Free Day commemoration @bhamcivilrights. Live broadcasts will be available for viewing after MLK Day 2022.

Hands on Birmingham

For the past 21 years, residents of Birmingham and surrounding areas have come out by the thousands to give back to their communities on MLK Jr. Day of Service. Hands on Birmingham has refurbished schools, built homes for the needy, fed the homeless, cleaned up neighborhoods and socialized with seniors. Roll up your sleeves and celebrate the day from a variety of community projects Monday, Jan. 17. Browse through the complete list of service opportunities.

Birmingham Boat Show

The boat show will highlight the latest in boats, motors, fishing gear, guides, outfitters and related outdoor gear Jan. 20-23. The grand prize giveaway is a 2022 Yamaha WaveRunner EX Sport Watercraft with a galvanized trailer provided by Big Number One Motor Sports. Show hours are Thursday and Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Print this coupon (for Thursday only) at the box office for the buy one adult ticket and get one adult ticket free offer. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free with a paid adult. Call 361-446-4040 or email [email protected]. The Boat Show is at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. For ticket information and show times, visit the website.

The annual boat show is Jan. 20-23 at the BJCC. (contributed)

Experience Native American art at Birmingham Museum of Art

Artists offer a visual voice that gives shape and form to history, ideas, experiences and feelings. “Voices So True: New Native American Art” from the Clyde Oyster Bequest features the work of seven contemporary Native American artists, whose vision gives voice to Native American perspectives, past and present. Ranging in media from photographs, prints and paintings to basketry, the works explore subjects including history and identity, environmental justice, healing from illness and violence, and giving voice to the voiceless. The seven featured artists – Kay WalkingStick, Wendy Red Star, Norman Akers, Eugene Tapahe, Zoe Marieh Urness, Shan Goshorn and Larry McNeil – are affiliated with tribal nations, including Cherokee, Navajo, Osage, Crow and Tlingit. In her series “1880 Crow Peace Delegation,” Star adds handwritten text to a group of historic photographic portraits of Crow leaders – images over which the sitters had no control and which were appropriated into popular culture. Akers’ prints explore the perception of encounters between invading European colonists and Native Americans, and a painting by WalkingStick evokes the heroic voyage of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce people who tried to walk to freedom. A basket by Goshorn expresses support for the protesters at Standing Rock and draws attention to the issue of environmental justice among the Eastern Band Cherokee. Photographs from Tapahe’s epic “Art Heals: The Jingle Dress Project” document an artist’s vision and action to help bring about healing during the pandemic. All of the works in the exhibition were recently acquired for the museum’s permanent collection with the support of a generous bequest from the late Dr. Clyde Oyster, a UAB professor and research scientist and longtime docent and volunteer at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The title of the exhibition is inspired by the writings of Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation and the first Native American Poet Laureate of the U.S. See “Voices So True” through Sunday, Jan. 30 at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Winter Wednesdays

Workshops are underway at Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore. Each workshop covers a special feature of the gardens or home, tips for making your garden more spectacular or guest lectures from renowned members of the horticultural and gardening world. Sessions are 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Winter Wednesdays are included in gardens admission. Reservations are requested for each program.

  • Jan. 19 – A History of Mobile’s Red Light District with Tom McGehee.
  • Jan. 26 – Guest speaker: Carleton Woo.
  • Feb. 2 – Guest speaker: Judson LeCompte.

To learn more about each program, call 251-459-8868, email [email protected] or visit the website.

View of the back of Bellingrath Gardens and Home and terraces overlooking the Fowl River. (contributed)

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