KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
The statue of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. is seen at the MLK Memorial September 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. King was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.
Monday, January 21st will mark the 27th year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’'s birthday has been celebrated as a federal holiday.
The Southland will play host to two large parades celebrating the civil rights leader, the "Kingdom Day Parade" in Los Angeles on Saturday 19th at 11am, and the "Peace and Unity Parade Celebration" in Long Beach that same day at 10:30 am.
Los Angeles Kingdom Day Parade
When and where: The “Kingdom Day Parade”, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality, will begin at 11:00 am in South L.A.
The parade route begins at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Western Ave. From there, it marches West down MLK Blvd. towards Crenshaw Blvd. where it veers left. After heading South on Crenshaw blvd the parade will end at the intersection of Vernon Ave and Crenshaw Blvd.
(Note: This parade route map is dated from 2010. The parade route however will be the same this year)
How to get there: We suggest taking public transportation to the event if you can. Parking in L.A. can be a pain, and we wouldn’t wish it upon any of our enemies. Not that we have any.
- If you’re heading from North LA/ The Valley: Make your way to the North Hollywood Metro station and take the Red Line toward Union Station. Transfer to the Metro Expo Line at the 7th Street / Metro Center Station toward Culver City. Zip on past USC and disembark the train at the Exposition and Western Station. Walk south down Western Ave toward MLK Blvd.
- If you’re trekking from East LA: Take the Metro Gold Line heading north toward Sierra Madre Village and exit the train at the Little Tokyo / Arts District Station. From there walk up Temple toward Judge John Aiso Street and Board Metro Bus #40 heading toward South Bay Galleria. Get off the bus at the Exposition and Western stop. Walk south down Western Ave toward MLK Blvd.
- If your journey begins in West LA: Find your way to the Culver City Metro station and take the Expo Line towards 7th street and Metro Center Station. Get off the light rail at the Exposition and Western Station. Walk south down Western Ave toward MLK Blvd.
- If your path starts in South LA: Take the Metro Blue line toward 7th Street and Metro Center Station. Exit the train and board the Expo Line toward Culver City and get off at the Western and Exposition Station. Walk south down Western Ave toward MLK Blvd.
Want a taste? Here's a video from last year's Kingdom Day Parade:
Long Beach Peace and Unity Parade and Celebration
When and where: The Peace & Unity Parade Celebration is on Saturday, January 19 and will begin at 10:30 a.m.
The parade route runs from Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street. It will then proceed straight on North to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.
How to get there:
- Public transportation to Long Beach can be a little difficult to manage. If you do live close enough to the 7th street and Metro Center in Downtown Los Angeles, you can take the Blue Line down to the Long Beach Transit Mall and walk to the parade down the Pacific Coast highway towards MLK Ave.
- If you’re driving from the North and (The Valley, West LA): Take the good ol’ 405 down towards Long Beach and take exit 29C for Orange Ave, merge onto Orange Ave. Continue onto Alamitos Ave toward Anaheim
- If you’re driving from the Northeast (Downtown LA and East LA): Take the 110 Freeway south towards San Pedro. Take exit 9 for the 405 south toward Long beach and take exit 29C for Orange Ave, merge onto Orange Ave. Continue onto Alamitos Ave toward Anaheim Street.
- If you’re driving from South (Orange County): Find your way (we’re sure you can do it to) our friend the 405 North. From there take a Slight right onto CA-22/E 7th St and then a Slight right onto CA-1 N (pacific coast highway and stay ont it until you reach Orange. Turn Left on orange, take a Merege onto Alamitos Ave toward Anaheim Street.
Please note that: Long Beach City College is providing parking and shuttles. The shuttles will be available to transport parade viewers to and from the from route from 7:30 am to 10:00 am.
What to do after: After the parade ends there will be a festival at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park that will include entertainment, food, and craft and vendors. Have teens and children? There will be games and rides as well.
The festival’s hours will be from 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
For more info, check their website.
Other events in Los Angeles
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art: LACMA will be offering free admission on MLK Day, and Jazz artist Erni Andrews will be performing two sets that day at 12:30 pm and 2:45 pm. The museum will not be offering free admission to both the Stanley Kubrick exhibit or the "Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy" exhibit. LACMA is located in Mid-City Los Angeles at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard.
- California African American Museum: CAAM will be hosting two events in honor of MLK Jr. on Monday Janurary 21st. Both of the events are free and open to the public:
- The first event, "Cake for King", will take place from 11 am to 2pm and will feature documentary films, storytelling in the museum's galleries, a community art project, and a slice of cake to honor what would have been Dr. King's 84th birthday.
- The second event, The Dream @ 50 Awards Ceremony, taking place from 3 pm to 4:30 pm, will honor the winner of the first round in the national The Dream @ 50 Awards. The winning works of art will those that best exemplifies MLK Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech.? CAAM is located in South Los Angels in Exposition Park at 600 State Drive.
Know of an event we missed? Let us know!
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of charity and community organizing, civic leaders and the government have called for a national day of service. Consider celebrating MLK Jr.'s life by volunteering your time to service projects around Southern California.
If you're interested, we've compiled a list of a few choice MLK National Day of Service events and put together a list of organizations around Southern California that could use your help! You can find even more at the National Day of Service site or at VolunteerMatch.