Sunday, April 21, 2024
Martin Luther King Jr. exhorts the crowd at a freedom rally at Washington Temple Church in 1962. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Martin Luther King Jr. exhorts the crowd at a freedom rally at Washington Temple Church in 1962. (Photo: Library of Congress)

There are at least seven opportunities coming along over five days to help recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Cambridge, including a Cambridge Symphony Orchestra performance,  choral selections and a theatrical presentation. In chronological order:

Thursday, Jan. 14, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
at the Cambridge Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave., was a talk by Brian Corr, executive director of the Cambridge Peace Commission, who has a long and impressive record working as an activist on issues of peace and social justice. Free and open to the public. For information, call Emma Watkins at (617) 349-6060.

Friday at 7 p.m. in the Area IV Youth Center, 243 Harvard St. This Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Concert and Program is presented in partnership with Cambridge Youth Programs and the Area IV Youth Center with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. For information, call (617) 349-6262.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m., in Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, Harvard Square, is this year’s Joyful Noise Gospel Concert, honoring the life and legacy of King, features the internationally acclaimed Harlem Gospel Choir, called by organizers the preeminent gospel choir in the world. The program will also include musical selections by the Cambridge Community Chorus with musical director Jamie Kirsch. This program is presented by The Multicultural Arts Center in partnership with Harvard University’s Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs. For tickets and information, visit

Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Central Square Branch Library, 45 Pearl St.: The library invites the public to a performance written, preformed and produced by students for its 35th annual birthday commemoration of King: “Journey to the Mountaintop,” an original theatrical performance combining music, imagery and history to explore the civil rights movement through King’s eyes. It is presented by Just-A-Start’s Career Connection and the Philip Brooks House Association’s Leadership Program.

Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Greater Boston Vineyard Church, 170 Rindge Ave.: A Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. family concert features the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, led by musical director Cynthia Woods, will perform Duke Ellington’s “Three Black Kings” and Joseph Schwantner’s “New Morning for the World” with Delores Handy, of WBUR-FM, as narrator. This is the second performance of the orchestral season. For information call (617) 576-1819 or click here.

Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
in Central Square: The city’s Annual Martin Luther King Day Commemoration and Remembrance is free and open to the public. The Cambridge Peace Commission has scheduled an
11:30 a.m. community remembrance of King in front of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave. and a
12:30 p.m. celebration of King’s life and work for peace, justice and transformation in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 838 Massachusetts Ave., that has been amended to include a vigil for the people in Haiti. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Tuesday has killed some 50,000 people and injured or uprooted 3 million, a third of the nation’s population. See more here.
“In 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King described the most serious threat to American society,” commissioners write. “In his words, ‘We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.’ More than 40 years later, the United States still faces these three existential challenges to our values as a nation. We will stand up publicly to honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King and his legacy of peace and justice, and then gather at St. Peter’s to hear the words of Dr. King calling for peace, justice and transformation, along with brief remarks by Winston Cox of the Social Justice Academy and music by Veronique-Anne Epiter.” Light refreshments will be served. For information, contact the commission at (617) 349.4694 or [email protected].

And Monday at 5:30 pm outside the Out of Town News Kiosk, the Harvard Square Business Association is hosting a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. in poetry, music and a reading of King’s “I have a Dream” speech. The World Percussion Ensemble from Somerville High will perform original compositions of reggaeton, samba and hip-hop, while the reading will be shared by Cambridge Police Officer Carl Pilgrim and Nepthalie Bernard, Steven Jenkins, Paige Mochi and Jessica Romero, students from the Community Charter School of Cambridge. Additional poetry is by Wellesley professor and Cantabrigian Ifeanyi A. Menkiti — the owner of the Grolier Poetry Bookstore. JP Licks will provide samples of their regular or El Diablo hot chocolate.