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MLK Day 2023: It Takes A Village

All ages
  • About This Program

    This year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration theme is inspired by the Gantt's partnership with Levine Museum of the New South in presenting the Smithsonian's Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. exhibition.

    As the two institutions come together to celebrate the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this day-long celebration expresses that true sustainable success can only be achieved with community collaboration. Dr. King was only as successful as his team, which included several men honored in the Men of Change exhibition. The Gantt and Levine Museum are collaborating with local and regional artists, historians, and institutions to uplift the power of collective voice and action.

    MLK Day 2023: It Takes A Village Program Schedule

    9 am - 10 am
    Children's Book Storytime with Braxton Winston

    Sit the little ones down for colorful stories of equity and civil rights, from children’s books created by local authors who will feature in a concurrent panel discussion on the 4th floor. Read by our own Councilman Braxton Winston, the youth will connect with local activism in a way that plants seeds.

    9 am - 1 pm
    Civil Rights Arts & Crafts Station

    For the entire family, enjoy an assortment of art activities that commemorate the Civil Rights era.

    9:30 am - 10:30 am
    Our Friend, Martin

    Our Friend Martin is an animated, feature-length film that features two sixth-grade boys who are transported back to the time of civil rights leader Dr. King and who learn about his life and his contribution to humankind by experiencing the moment themselves and watching history in the making.

    9:30 am - 11 am
    The Talk: Children's Book Author Reflections

    How do children's book authors continue the work of Rev. Dr. King? Hear the stories of local and talented authors and illustrators, specifically how they create stories that inform and uplift our youngest generation. This talk will be followed by a book-signing for some of our premier children's books, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

    10:30 am - 11:30 am
    Empowerment Sounds with Arsena

    Enjoy covers of iconic Civil Rights era music, along with original music from musical sensation Arsena, all meant to enliven our community. Follow Arsena on Instagram @arsenamusic.

    11 am - 12 noon
    Our Friend, Martin

    11 am - 12:30 pm
    Pop-Up Poetry with Jah Smalls and Meet the Artists (Charlotte's Men of Change)

    Enjoy pop-up poetry by Jah Smalls and take a moment to meet the local artists commissioned to create brand new artwork inspired by some impactful Black men as part of the Charlotte's Men of Change pop-up exhibition. This event will be held at Levine Museum of the New South, 401 S. Tryon St.

    12 noon - 1:30 pm
    MLK & Civil Rights Trivia

    How much do you know about the Civil Rights era? Enjoy rounds of trivia the entire family can enjoy. We will crown at least 3 winners!

    12 noon - 1:30 pm
    Breaking Ground: A Panel of Firsts

    This progam will be live streamed on YouTube here.

    Moderated by CMS Foundation Executive Director, Sonja Gantt, this panel discussion will feature Mr. James Ferguson, II (co-founder of the first integrated law firm in North Carolina), Ms. Dorothy Counts-Scoggins (one of the first students to integrate public schools in Charlotte), and Mr. Ken Koontz (one of the first Black anchormen in Charlotte), among other special guests.

    We will hear the stories of these groundbreakers in new ways. Why is it essential to preserve their stories, keeping them at the forefront of our commemorations? In what ways are their experiences timeless reminders of an ever-evolving revolution? Join the celebration as we get details of the struggle and triumph of the journeys of some of our prized groundbreakers.

    12:15 pm - 12:45 pm
    NC Civil Rights Trail with the AAHC

    Learn about iconic local civil rights movements, and see the ways our state carried out Rev. Dr. King's mission. In proud partnership with the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission (AAHC).

    1 pm - 2 pm
    Charlotte's Men of Change Exhibition: Meet the Artists

    MLK Day will be the community's first view of the Charlotte's Men of Change pop-up exhibition. Take a moment to meet the local artists we commissioned to create new artwork inspired by some impactful Black men in our city. Learn about the artists' processes in embodying the essence of such pivotal men and walk away inspired.

    2 pm - 4 pm
    Community of Change: The Importance of Mentorship and Black Male Youth

    This progam will be live streamed on YouTube here.

    Our third installment of Community of Change, this conversation positions our guests as the main contributors. Learn about the ways Black men in our local community are inspiring change, and the ways you can support. Led by The Males Place founder, Reggie Singleton, and founder of Heal Charlotte, Greg Jackson.

    2 pm - 4 pm
    Levine Museum Drop-In Art

    As you visit the other half of the Men of Change exhibition, enjoy some crafts for all ages! This event will be held at Levine Museum of the New South, 401 S. Tryon St.

    2 pm - 4 pm
    Community Drop-In Art with Ricky Singh

    Led by Ricky Singh, teaching artist and head of Charlotte Lab's Upper School. Let your creative side shine with a drop-in activity to celebrate Rev. Dr. King. An experience the entire family can enjoy.

    2:30 pm - 4 pm
    The Youth Revolution Soundtrack

    See how music inspires today's youth to preserve Rev. Dr. King's mission and forward their own movement, similar to the ways music influenced the Civil Rights era and other movements in history. The youth will showcase a range of talents/performances to share how they are inspired to be champions of equity.

    This event is a partnership with Blumenthal Performing Arts' Director of Creative Engagement, spoken word poet, and community leader, Boris "Bluz" Rogers.

    2:30 pm - 4 pm
    MLK: The Power of Words

    Led by artist and community leader Jermaine Nakia Lee, participants will examine the ways in which powerful and passion-filled words can be used to communicate the concepts of freedom, justice, equality and the American Dream as in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.

    Exhibitions on View

    Please enjoy our exhibitions on view, particularly our Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth., a 2-part exhibition, located in the East Gallery of the Gantt Center, and at the Levine Museum of the New South, two blocks away, at 401 S. Tryon St.

    Registration is for the full day's schedule in its entirety. All experiences during MLK Day 2023 are first-come, first-serve, and we'll close programs to additional guests once we reach capacity.

    This collaborative MLK celebration is proudly sponsored by Food Lion (presenting sponsor) & Bank of America (signature sponsor)

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