Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in metro Detroit

Modified: July 11, 2022 | Story by Max White | Photos by Photo Courtesy, Eastern Market/Murals in the Market- Mural by BMike and The Charles H. Wright Museum

The entire country will come together to honor the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17 and in the days before.


The civil rights leader is honored every year on the third Monday to honor the impactful changes he pioneered, his monumental work on the civil rights movement and his expansive community leadership. King, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the young age of 39, would have turned 92 on Jan. 15, 2022.


Each year on MLK Day, there are events held throughout metro Detroit cities and museums. Below you’ll find some of the events in the area.



The Detroit MLK Day has held a march and rally every year for nearly two decades to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, 2022’s event will be a virtual rally and march.

The virtual rally will be for jobs, peace and justice and for protecting water, climate and communities.

The rally will be on YouTube and Facebook from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and people can register in advance at the Zoom link.




The City of Southfield also hosts a major event in honor of the civil rights leader. With the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Southfield will host a “Drive for Freedom, Justice & Equity” Parade and a virtual commemorative program.

The parade will depart from Hope United at 10 a.m. and run through Southfield, ending at the Southfield Municipal Campus.

This year’s theme is “Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding leads to Freedom, Justice and Equity.”

At 1 p.m., the virtual program will kick off and include the presentation of the 2022 MLK Community Service Award and MLK Youth Service Award.

Finally, there will be a MLK Day of Service food giveaway after the parade for those who are in need. It’s at 11 a.m. in the Parks and Recreation circular drive at 26000 Evergreen Rd.


Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History


The Wright Museum is honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. with a virtual celebration and video presentation.

“Every year, on the anniversary of King’s birthday, we celebrate his past work and strive to continue his legacy,” the museum wrote on the event page.

Rev. Nicholas Hood III will give an invocation, and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young will give a virtual keynote address.

Young has been a leader in the civil rights movement for decades and currently runs the Andrew J. Young Foundation. He worked closely with Dr. King while he led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s “citizenship schools” on non-violent organizing strategies.

The video presentation will happen at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.


Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History atrium

The Henry Ford


The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with free admission and parking on Jan. 17 for a day of inspiration.

The museum has an entire exhibit dedicated to civil rights that is called “With Liberty and Justice for All.” Some of the highlights in the exhibition include the Rosa Parks Bus, and several items related to Martin Luther King, Jr. Those include a memorial button, posters, a record album, pins and more.


Berkley and Royal Oak


The cities and school districts of Berkley and Royal Oak are hosting a day of learning and action. It starts at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 with a virtual presentation on the Berkley Schools and Royal Oak Schools Facebook pages, with a performance from the Detroit Youth Choir, and a keynote speech from Royal Oak Schools Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Dr. Kim Martin.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., there will be a freedom walk from Royal Oak Middle School and through the neighborhoods. Along with the walk is a donation drive which will go to several the Redford Brightmoor Initiative, Cass Community Social Services, the Judson Center and Gleaners. Donations needed include toiletries, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, laundry detergent, diapers, baby wipes and more.


MLK Day Virtual Community Conversation


The Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School is hosting a community conversation on voter suppression and voter protections on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

It will be with civil rights attorneys Mark Brewer and Harold Pope. Brewer was previously the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party until 2013, and Pope is a litigator in the Dykema Detroit office.


Watch Dr. King’s speech in Detroit


On June 23, 1963, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Detroit for “The Walk to Freedom” where he led more than 100,000 people down Woodward Ave. to the then Cobo Arena.

During a speech at the arena, King gave a speech that featured some portions of his “I Have a Dream” speech that would be given just over two months later during the March on Washington.

Some of the speech was recorded on a record, and you can hear the speech on YouTube


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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  2. 2
    The Henry Ford
    20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124