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This Monday, January 17, 2022, NYC public schools and DOE offices will be closed in observation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day). Traditionally observed on the third Monday of January each year, MLK Day celebrates the life and legacy of the the American minister and activist who helped lead the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

In recognition of Dr. King’s life and commitment to nonviolence, public service, and civil rights, we’re encouraging NYC teachers, students, and families to dedicate MLK Day to celebrating Dr. King’s incredible legacy. Below, you’ll find links to family-friendly virtual celebrations, e-books, learning resources, and more, assembled by the experts on our Social Studies and Civics for All curricular teams. We hope these suggestions will help you and your family think about this critical part of our nation’s history throughout MLK Day and beyond!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a podium in mid-speech

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Educate and Celebrate

The National Civil Rights Museum presents King Day: An All-Day Hybrid Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday on Monday, January 17, 2022, via livestream from 8:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m., C.S.T. The virtual event, which will also be held in-person at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN, will showcase Dr. King’s work and the history of how MLK Day came to be, while also examining how the museum celebrated the holiday in years past. This year’s theme is “Double V” for “vaccines” and “voting.”

To participate, register for free virtual access directly on the National Civil Rights Museum’s “King Day” webpage.

  • The online celebration will feature musical performances by Memphis musicians Garry GoinTykeTKaren Brown, and many more.
  • Museum educator and historian, Ryan Jones, AKA: “DJ Thriller”, will get on the turntables and provide a special musical salute to Dr. King’s life and legacy.
  • Spoken word artist, Carin Malone, AKA: “Writeous Soul,” will deliver a tribute to the civil rights leader.
  • For young viewers, museum educator, Dory Lerner, will present King Day for the Small But Mighty at 10:00 a.m., C.S.T. Dory will share his ideas for children and families to remember Dr. King, his character, and the virtues he taught around love, peace, and justice. Register for this virtual program online directly on the program webpage.

For more information about either of these livestreams, visit the National Civil Rights Museum’s King Day webpage.

Wide shot of the Lorraine Motel, site of MLK, Jr.'s assassination

The Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

The Laws of Our Land and Their Legacy

Last year, the National Constitution Center offered virtual classes online that explored the Civil Rights Movement, the Warren Court, and landmark laws enacted by Congress, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Today, these outstanding sessions remain online for students of all ages to watch and examine. In addition, you will also find briefing documents, presentations, worksheets, audio recordings, crafts & activities for younger students, and more to help supplement the lessons in those virtual classes.

To learn more, visit the National Constitution Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service webpage.

Read All About It

Explore our shared American story with the DOE School Library System’s The Time Is Right To Do What Is Right Collection, a collection of 5 ebooks for young people on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This collection is available to City public school students by logging into the Sora app with their NYC Schools Account user names and passwords.

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We hope NYC families take advantage of these outstanding resources to learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. King. On behalf of the DOE, we wish all of our families a wonderful and educational MLK Day.


All photos used under Creative Commons license.

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NYC Department of Education, 2019