Observances of Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be taking place around metro Atlanta starting this weekend before the actual holiday on Jan. 16, including a visit by President Joe Biden.

Atlanta

The King Center will host the annual Beloved Community Awards on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown. Hosted by Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Michelle Williams, the event will honor Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation CEO Melanie Campbell, musician and philanthropist Dolly Parton, and more. Find more information here.


Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock will deliver a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 9 a.m. on what would have been MLK’s 94th birthday, before introducing special guest, President Joe Biden at 11 a.m. Get more information here.


The King Center will host the 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative Service at Ebenezer’s Horizon Sanctuary, 101 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, on Monday, Jan. 16, at 10 a.m. The service will broadcast live on FOX 5 Atlanta and livestream on Facebook, YouTube, fox4atlanta.com, and thekingcenter.org.

The 54th Annual Commemorative Service is the hallmark of the King Holiday Observance.  Reverend Natosha Reid Rice and Pastor Sam Collier will preside over the event. The King Center CEO, Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, will give the Call to Commemoration.  This year’s keynote speaker is Bryan Stevenson, lawyer, social justice activist, law professor at New York University School of Law, and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Warnock and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens will give pastoral and city greetings, respectively. Secial guests will give tributes to Dr. King and Coretta Scott King.

The Commemorative Service will feature musical performances by musical guests: Yolanda Adams, Kierra Sheard, Justin Schultz, Minister Angella Christie, Ashling Cole, Dr. Uzee Brown, and Bishop William Murphy. The Commemorative Service Choir will perform, accompanied by The Covington Regional Ballet. There will be an international musical performance by the Far East Broadcasting Company Korea Children’s Choir.   


In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Atlanta History Center will host a commemoration on Jan. 16, celebrating the federal holiday and honoring the legacy of the Atlanta-born civil rights leader. The day-long ceremony will feature civil rights-themed trivia, crafts, choir performances, Freedom Rider simulations, panel discussions, free access to exhibitions and more. The event will take place at Atlanta History Center’s Buckhead campus, located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW. 

Beginning at 10 a.m., guests can enjoy ongoing activities and free access to a variety of exhibitions, including the African American Civil War Experience at the Turning Point exhibition in DuBose Gallery. For those looking to show off their knowledge of civil rights history, families are invited to sign up and compete in a trivia game at 11 a.m. for fun prizes in the Grand Overlook Ballroom. Freedom Ride Simulations will be held in the parking lot in front of Atlanta History Center beginning at 10:30 a.m. and continuing every hour until 3:30 p.m. The interactive simulation allows participants to travel to the Deep South and test new laws banning interstate segregation on public transportation. 

For more information or to register, visit this link.

Sandy Springs

All are welcome to attend the the City of Sandy Spring’s annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at City Springs, starting at 1 p.m. on Jan. 16. This family-friendly event will feature interactive art projects and a film designed to celebrate, educate, and share the teachings of Dr. King. Admission is free, but capacity is limited, so reservations are encouraged. Click this link to reserve your space!

Themes and activities include:

  • DREAM: Listen to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and create your own “Dream Cloud” craft
  • JUSTICE: Decorate a bookmark with a quote from Dr. King, “The time is always right to do what is right”
  • LOVE: Use crayons to trace hands, identifying the similarities we all share   
  • LIBERTY: Complete a wordsearch & learn about terms such as civil rights, segregation, and equality
  • EQUALITY: Live Storytime! We’ll be reading picture books such as My Brother Martin, written by King’s sister, Dr. Christine King Farris
  • FREEDOM: Movie Screening of Emmy Award-nominated film, Our Friend, Martin

Brookhaven

Brookhaven’s seventh annual MLK Day Dinner and Celebration returns Monday, Jan. 16, at 5 p.m. to Lynwood Recreation Center. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Lynwood Recreation Center, 3360 Osborne Road, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., or by calling (404) 637-0542. There will be live performances, giveaways, guest speakers, and dinner.

Doraville

The MLK Day 5K & Drum Run will take place entirely on New Peachtree Road. The FLAT & FAST out & back USATF certified race course and Peachtree Road Race qualifier will have a 3.1 mile drumline all along the race course starting at 8 a.m. For details and registration, click here.

Dunwoody

There are several projects in Dunwoody for those who like to dig in the dirt.

The Daffodil Project, an organization dedicated to planting 1.5 million daffodil bulbs representing the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust, will be planting 5,000 bulbs at Brook Run Park on January 16 starting at 9 a.m.

The Dunwoody Community Garden & Orchard is seeking adults and teens who are handy with a hammer and nails, can manage a shovel and wheelbarrow, or enjoy pulling weeds to help rebuild raised beds at the community garden in Brook Run Park. Please bring work gloves. Shovels, lumber and other garden equipment will be provided. The garden supports Malachi’s Storehouse and many local community gardens. The event starts at 9 a.m. on January 16.

The Dunwoody Nature Center is looking for volunteers to help plant native trees, flowers, ferns, and grasses on its grounds at 5343 Roberts Drive. Two time slots are available – from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.

Those wishing to participate in any of these events can sign up on the city of Dunwoody’s website

 

Metro Atlanta

From January 12-16, 2023, Hands On Atlanta will bring together over 2,000 volunteers to support more than 40 local nonprofits and schools as part of the 2023 MLK Days of Service. With the support of The Coca-Cola Company, these volunteers will participate in more than 100 service projects and events across metro Atlanta. 

In partnership with The King Center, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Morehouse College, The Carter Center, The Atlanta History Center, and Points of Light, the 2023 MLK Day of Service will promote a month of social justice and civic engagement. Projects and events will focus on improving educational and housing equity, food security, and the environment.

Volunteers from the Coca-Cola Company will be joined by the Home Depot Foundation, OneDigital, the Arthur M Blank Foundation and others at events throughout the 2023 MLK Days of Service.

Marquee events include:

  • Jan. 12, 2023 – Mega Hope Kit Pack – Volunteers will pack over 2000 snack kits, hygiene kits and welcome home kits in partnership with Ebenezer Baptist Church and Hope Atlanta.
  • Jan. 13, 2023 – 970 Jefferson Meal Pack- Volunteers will pack over 1000 meals for metro-Atlanta students and residents served by Urban Recipe and Hands On Atlanta’s Meals4Kids program.
  • Jan. 14, 2023 – Westside Housing Support- Volunteers will complete landscaping and provide minor repairs for seniors in partnership with House Proud.
  • Jan. 15, 2023 – Hands On Atlanta’s MLK Sunday Supper – 150 corporate and community leaders will sit down for an authentic conversation about housing equity at the National Center for Civil & Human Rights.
  • Jan. 16, 2023 – Corporate and community volunteers from across Atlanta will beautify the farm, care for trees, and more at Truly Living Well in partnership with Westside Future Fund.

Find out how to get involved here.


In honor of the MLK holiday, groups all over Atlanta will be making hundreds of sandwiches to feed the hungry.  The Sandwich Project (TSP) a grassroots organization formed during the pandemic will be coordinating a wide variety of groups ranging from scout troops, Jack and Jill chapters, corporations, and neighborhoods. Throughout the day, TSP volunteers will collect the handmade sandwiches made by the various groups. The sandwiches will then be delivered to partner organizations that support individuals and families experiencing food insecurity.  

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

Cathy Cobbs

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at cathy@roughdraftatlanta.com

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.