Events

MLK Day 2023: Houston has two parades, other events throughout region

The Houston area is hosting several events Saturday, Sunday and Monday in honor of late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Day Parade Midtown
Elizabeth Trovall/Houston Public Media
Students march in Midtown for the MLK Grande Parade on Jan. 21, 2019, in Houston.

Houston-area residents looking to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day can participate in a variety of free or low-cost events around the region this weekend and on Monday, when there is a federal holiday commemorating the birthday of the late civil rights leader.

Two parades honoring King, who was assassinated in 1968 at age 39, are planned for Monday morning in Houston. The 45th annual Original MLK Jr. Parade & Festival downtown, along with the 29th annual MLK Grande Parade in Midtown, are both scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

There also is a tree-planting event and fresh produce distribution in Kendleton, a small community in western Fort Bend County that was founded by emancipated slaves after the Civil War.

Some other Houston-area events in remembrance of King are planned for Saturday and Sunday.

Here are more details, with events organized by day:

SATURDAY

Children's Museum Houston, 1500 Binz St., is offering a special admission price of $5 per person on Saturday, when it is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Its 27th annual celebration of King and his legacy is scheduled to start at noon, with musical and dance performances, a kids-led peace march and a reenactment of King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Beforehand, at 11 a.m., there will be an African heritage food demonstration involving Prairie View A&M University.

SUNDAY

Central Green Park, 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd. in Katy, is hosting "Dreams, Art and Freedom: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," from noon-3 p.m. There will be live music, giveaways and a children's art contest.

Rothko Chapel, 3900 Yupon St., began celebrating MLK Day in 1979. From 3-4:30 p.m. this Sunday, which would have been King's 94th birthday, it is hosting a panel discussion called "Images & Words: Media's Influence on the Struggle for Civil Rights," through a partnership with Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Gordon Parks Foundation. There is online registration for the event, which can be viewed in person or online for a suggested donation between $5-$20. Rothko Chapel also will be open to the public from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, when it will broadcast speeches and sermons given by King.

MONDAY

The 45th annual Original MLK Jr. Parade, hosted by the Black Heritage Society in partnership with the City of Houston and local TV station KHOU, will be held downtown from 10 a.m. until early afternoon. The theme is "Climbing the Mountain to a Better Future," with Mayor Sylvester Turner serving as grand marshal and Dr. Camille Cash, the late John W. Bland and Derek King – the nephew of the civil rights leader – serving as co-grand marshals.

The route for the parade, which will feature marching bands from Rice and Texas Southern universities along with local high schools, starts at the intersection of Lamar and Smith streets. The parade will proceed north on Smith before turning east on Walker Street, south on Milam Street, west on Bell Street, north on Louisiana Street and west on Dallas Street until its intersection with Bagby Street.

Immediately following the parade, a free festival will be held at Hermann Square Park until 5 p.m. There will be food trucks, vendor booths, live music, a disc jockey and activities for kids.

The parade will be broadcast live on KTBU, which is Quest Texas channel 55, and on KHOU.com.

For more information, visit blackheritagesociety.net.

The 29th annual MLK Grande Parade, held in Midtown, also will start at 10 a.m. Monday and will be televised by CW-39. The theme is "Drum Majors for the Dream," and this year's honorees include Amanda Edwards, a former Houston City Council member and current mayoral candidate, and rapper Trae Tha Truth.

The parade starts at the intersection of Elgin and San Jacinto streets and is expected to last about two hours, proceeding north on San Jacinto, west on Webster Street and south on Fannin Street until it reaches Tuam Street.

Designated parking is available in Houston Community College parking lot 2, at the southwest corner of San Jacinto and Holman streets, and also at HCC's parking lot 13 at the northeast corner of San Jacinto and Alabama Street.

For more information, visit mlkgrandeparade.org.

Bates M. Allen Park, 630 Charlie Roberts Ln. in Kendleton, will host a free "Day of Service" event from noon-2 p.m. Fresh produce will be distributed, while fruit trees and herbs will be planted in a community garden created by the Lucille's 1913 Foundation to combat food insecurity in the rural Fort Bend County community.

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