21 MLK Day events in Birmingham January 16-23


MLK Jr. MLK Day events in Birmingham
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo via Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Facebook

While Martin Luther King Day holds significance for the entire country, so much Civil Rights history happened right here in Birmingham. Monday, January 18 is the official holiday, and has become a day for people to give back to their community. Throughout the weekend, there are opportunities to serve, learn, move, shop and even head to the Zoo as a way to honor Dr. King’s legacy. Keep reading to find out about all the MLK Day events we found from January 16-23.

Entrance to Kelly Ingram Park in the Civil Rights District, Birmingham Alabama MLK Day events in Birmingham
Entrance to Kelly Ingram Park in the Civil Rights District. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

“In Birmingham, our story of resilience was written by several courageous figures. The Rev. Martin Luther King was one of them. Like other foot soldiers, Dr. King’s pursuit of social justice supported movements in Birmingham, Montgomery and beyond. He empowered communities throughout the South and our nation.’’

Mayor Randall Woodfin, in a message sent out by the City of Birmingham


MLK Day of Service
So many opportunities to make a difference this weekend. Photo via Black Warrior Riverkeeper

1. Clean up at Shadowlawn Memorial Park

  • When: Saturday, January 16, 10AM-noon
  • What: park cleanup
  • Where: Shadowlawn Memorial Park, 1600 12th St. SW, Birmingham, AL 35211
  • What to wear: closed toe shoes, long pants, face mask
  • Organized by: Black Warrior Riverkeeper & Cahaba Riverkeeper
  • Register
  • Questions: Email info@blackwarriorriver.org

2. Keep BHM Warm with The Pizitz, The Summit, Mercedes Benz of Birmingham and YP Birmingham

  • When: Saturday, January 16-Monday, January 18 (if you miss MLK Day weekend, they’re collecting donations all the way through Sunday, January 31)
  • What: drop off blankets, hats, gloves, scarves and socks—all items will be donated to the Boutwell Warming Center, Firehouse Shelter and Salvation Army
  • Where: The Pizitz Food Hall, Pose at The Summit or Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham
  • Organized by: The Pizitz, The Summit, Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham and YP Birmingham
  • Learn more: website 

3. Join United Way for MLK Day of Service

4. MLK and Kiwanis Club of Birmingham Day of Service at Vulcan Park

  • When: Monday, January 18, 7-10AM
  • What: maintenance projects including area and trail cleanup and sanding and repainting handrails 
  • Where: Kiwanis Centennial Park at Vulcan Park
  • Organized by: Kiwanis Club of Birmingham
  • Learn more: website
MLK Jr. quote, MLK Day events Birmingham
“…injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

5. MLK Day of Service volunteer workday with Be a Blessing Birmingham

  • When: Monday, January 18, noon-2PM
  • What: sort and pack donations for Blessing Day or drop off donations
  • Where: 626 Robert Jemison Rd, Birmingham, AL 35209
  • Organized by: Be a Blessing Birmingham
  • Register
  • Learn more: website | Facebook

6. MLK Day of Service at WE Gardens

  • When: Monday, January 18, 1PM
  • What: pick up trash, garden or work inside
  • Where: WE Gardens, 1200 McMillon Ave, SW, Birmingham, AL 35211
  • What to wear: mask
  • Organized by: Community Church without Walls
  • Register


100th anniversary of the Negro Southern Leagues, MLK Day events in Birmingham
Baseball fans don’t want to miss this. Photo via Negro Southern League Museum’s Facebook

7. Brothers and Bow Ties: A virtual event presented by the Birmingham Public Library   

  • When: Saturday, January 16, 10AM
  • What: a virtual panel of adult African American men from across Birmingham share words of encouragement for young men age 11-18. “The event is to promote positive character, establish long-lasting relationships with positive adult male figures, and to cast visions that promote a brighter future.”
  • Where: Birmingham Public Library’s Facebook page
  • Hosted by: Cedric D. Sparks, chief of staff for the City of Birmingham, will serve as host and moderator
  • Registration not necessary
  • Donate: hats, gloves, coats, masks, tote bags to be distributed to those in need on Monday, January 18 at the downtown library 
  • More information: contact Candice Hardy at (205) 226-3741, (205) 568-4359 or email Candice.Hardy@cobpl.org | website

8. 100th Anniversary Celebration of The Negro Leagues

9. MLK Free Day at BCRI

  • When: Monday, January 18, 9AM-5PM
  • What: visit the galleries of the museum in person
  • Where: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • Get tickets. Many of the earlier times are already booked, but there are times available later in the day. Tickets are free and required to ensure social distancing.
  • More info | Email cwoods@bcri.org 
BCRI MLK Day event 2021, MLK Day events in Birmingham
The BCRI is hosting online and on-site events for MLK Day 2021. Graphic via BCRI’s Facebook

10. Stand Up for Justice: A Virtual Event Present by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute  

11. Justice in the Beloved Community: A Conversation on A Time to Break Silence 

  • When: Monday, January 18, 6PM
  • What: a conversation on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon “A Time to Break Silence”, focused on equity, justice and community
  • Where: Facebook Live
  • What to wear: 
  • Moderated by: Cameron Thomas, director of Diversity Enrichment and Relations at Samford University
  • Questions: email Jenee Spencer at bspencer@samford.edu

12. Virtual King Week Trivia Night 

  • When: Tuesday, January 21, 7PM
  • What: pub-style trivia night, celebrating King Week and Civil Rights history
  • Where: Zoom
  • Register. Free and open to the public.
  • Questions: email craigd@uab.edu
MLK Day events in Birmingham
Photo via Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on Facebook

13. MLK Word From the Mountain Top Oratory Contest 

  • When: Saturday, January 23, 3PM
  • What: A contest that gives students the opportunity to reflect on the words of Dr. King while connecting his message to issues facing America today. The submission deadline is Monday, January 18, 5PM. Find all the details here. Finalists in this high school, community college and college student oratory competition will recite their winning entries during this virtual event. 
  • Where: Zoom
  • Organized by: Campus and Community Engagement, a unit of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Register
  • Questions: email bwolfe@uab.edu 

14. Racial Reconciliation and its Historical Context at Birmingham-Southern College 

  • When: Friday, January 22, 4:30-6PM
  • What: This forum will trace the history that has shaped student experiences and reflect upon how BSC might come to terms in honest and healing ways with elements of the college’s past that often remain unremarked.  
  • Where: Zoom
  • Facilitated by: Birmingham-Southern College’s Dr. Mark S. Schantz, chair of the Department of History
  • Register
  • Questions: email  


MLK Day Drum Run Virtual 5K flyer, MLK Day events in Birmingham
A run with a support band? Yes. Photo via MLKDay5K Dum Run-Birmingham’s Facebook

15. MLK Virtual 5K Drum Run

  • When: Saturday, January 16
  • What: run or walk a 5K on  your own between 8AM-8PM and report your run time to organizers. Organizers  will release a drumline soundtrack on Jan. 15 for you to download and listen to on Jan. 16 when you run or walk. Musicians featured include: Ramsay High School’s drumline, Freestyle Percussion Foundation, Exposure Drumline Foundation and Sahi On Ko Djony.  
  • Where: participants’ choice
  • Register. Cost per participant = $35. Proceeds benefit drumlines and participating community organizations.
  • More info: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
  • Questions: contact Herman Mannings III at 470-444-9844 or via email at  info@leftoverenergy.com

16. MLK Track & Field Invitational 

  • When: Monday, January 18, 7AM-10PM: Session 1, 7-10AM; Session 2, 11AM-2PM, Session 3, 3-6PM, Session 4, 7-10PM
  • What: high school student-athletes will compete
  • Where: Birmingham CrossPlex, 2337 Bessemer Road
  • Admission: Adults $10 per session, 65+ $5 per session, students free.
  • Questions: call meet director Devon Hind at 205-807-9144.  

17. Winter Geocaching Family Scavenger Hunt

  • When: Monday, January 18, 5-8PM
  • What: Go on a geocaching scavenger hunt to find snowflake and icicle ornaments hidden around the North Shelby Library grounds. The library provides clues and GPS coordinates. Teams of 1-6 family members, with adult supervision required.
  • Where: North Shelby Library, 5521 Cahaba Valley Rd., Birmingham AL 35242
  • What you need: GPS accessible mobile mapping/navigation device required to participate (Eg: smartphone w/ Google Maps app, Geocaching by Groundspeak Inc app for Android, Treasure Hunt Geocaching app for iOS, or a Garmin Device, etc.).
  • Register. Free to participate.
  • More info
  • Questions: Email nschildrenslibrarian@shelbycounty-al.org or call 205-439-5504 for printed directions or with questions.


Fire & Ice pop up
Graphic via Fire and Ice Pop Up Shop’s Facebook

18. 2021 Fire and Ice Pop Up Shop

  • When: Saturday, January 16, 1-5PM
  • What: Pop-up featuring 20+ small, Black-Owned, self-made businesses. There will be product demos, music, giveaways and networking. 
  • Where: Dannon Project Center, 2324 5th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • Organized by: 2:22 Fashion RX
  • Register. No cost.


zoo food drive
Food for half-price admission. Photo via Community Food Bank of Central Alabama’s Facebook

19. MLK, Jr. Day Food Drive / Half-Price Admission

  • When: Monday, January 18, 9AM-4PM
  • Organized by: The Birmingham Zoo and Community Food Bank of Central Alabama
  • Tickets: Bring a non-perishable or canned food item and get half-price daytime admission to the Zoo. (Limit one per guest)
  • More info: Community Food Bank of Central Alabama | Birmingham Zoo

20. Kids’ Day Out Camp: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

  • When: Monday, January 18, 8:30AM-3:30PM
  • What: a fun, day-long Zoo Camp designed to give parents a fun, educational option for regular school holidays.
  • Where: The Birmingham Zoo
  • Cost: $65 for non-members, $55 for members
  • Register
  • More info: Facebook

21. Glow Wild: An Animal Lantern Celebration

  • When: Saturday, January 16-Sunday, January 18, 5-9PM
  • Where: The Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223
  • What to wear: face coverings ages 6+ are required
  • Get tickets. Buy train and carousel tickets on site.
  • Discounts: Military, Members and Family Plus Members get 50% off the price of admission

Now tell us, Birmingham, how will you be celebrating Martin Luther King Day weekend? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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