Guide to Observing Martin Luther King in San Francisco
On Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 San Francisco will be the setting for a number of special events to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Many of the events take place in Yerba Buena Gardens where the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial is located. Situated behind a 50-foot-high waterfall, the memorial to King is the third largest in the U.S. It includes photos from the Civil Rights movement and 12 panels inscribed with Dr. King’s words including excerpts from his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the march on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
Among the scheduled events on Jan. 19, 2015 are:
This will be the final run of the Freedom Train chartered by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley for the past 30 years. The special Caltrain charter departs at 10 a.m. from the San Jose Rod Diridon Train Station at 65 Cahill St., San Jose, and proceeds nonstop to San Francisco. Freedom Train tickets are sold only by the association and no Caltrain fare media is valid. Tickets ($10) are expected to sell out. The San Francisco Caltrain station, Fourth and King streets, is within walking distance for commemorative events at Yerba Buena Gardens and the Museum of the African Diaspora.
March and Parade
The San Francisco Interfaith Council, local leaders and their congregants will join in the 2015 King celebrations to be held at Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth and Howard streets. Activities will include a tribute to the Selma-to-Montgomery march and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The march/parade will cross the Lefty O’Doul Bridge and stop briefly at Willie Mays Plaza, AT&T Park, before proceeding to Yerba Buena Gardens. Spiritual leaders from a variety of faith traditions will remember both the vision and sacrifice of Dr. King.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Yerba Buena Gardens
700 Howard St.
Dr. King’s words will be brought to life in conversations with Civil Rights movement and political luminaries and performances by celebrated artists.
Throughout the day in addition to the march/parade, the celebration will include among other activities (locations vary):
Labor and community breakfast
Health and wellness festival
Children’s Discovery Hunt for children ages 5-12
Liberation film festival screenings
Black Comix Arts Festival
Additional events on Jan. 19, 2015 include:
Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission St.
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., will celebrate the national observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a day of service. Admission will be free to the museum and programs will be held throughout the day.
Presidio of San Francisco
Rob Hill Campground
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Commemorate the MLK Day of Service by participating in a family-friendly event at the Presidio. Volunteers will work on habitat restoration, garden stewardship and other projects. All ages are welcomed and no experience is necessary; water, snacks, gloves and all tools will be provided. Registration is required.
Youth Speaks: Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nourse Auditorium, 275 Hayes St.
Every year Youth Speaks gathers the community to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The annual “Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” celebration is a showcase for young people who will express in their own words original work about Dr. King. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 youth.
Also planned are:
Jan. 15, 2015
Presidio Dialogues: MLK and the Blues
Presidio Officers Club, 50 Moraga Ave.
In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Marcus Shelby and his trio present “MLK and the Blues,” a special interactive performance and discussion about the role of music during the Civil Rights Movement. The presentation blends commentary, narrative, historic images, and Shelby’s original compositions as well as his re-arrangements and re-orchestrations of spirituals, freedom songs and blues to evoke this rich period of American history. One of the Bay Area’s most influential musicians, bassist Shelby is an accomplished composer, arranger, performer, teacher, and artist-in- residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Jan. 17, 2015
MLK Unity Summit Artistry Contest
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission St.
The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) together with Inner City Youth present the first annual MLK Unity Summit Artistry Contest, an evening of art and performances commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Special guest judges Khafre Jay, Marcus McCauley, and Maya Songbird will judge contestants. Hip Hop artist and social activist, Dregs One, will be the keynote speaker. The audience will vote for Viewer’s Choice Award. During the intermission, renowned R&B group THR3EE will entertain the audience. There will be refreshments and organic food in MCCLA’s lobby. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 students, children under 5 are free.
Jan. 18-19, 2015
Black Comix Arts Festival (BCAF)
Main Library, City View at Metreon and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
The inaugural Black Comix Arts Festival celebrates the creativity and subjectivity of African Americans in the comic arts and popular visual culture, and it includes a grand exposition, kids’ activity, special guest artist presentations, film screening and much more. BCAF begins on Sunday, January 18 at 2 p.m. at the San Francisco Public Library's Main Library and continues on Monday, January 19, with screenings beginning at 10 a.m. and the BCAF Expo at noon at City View at Metreon.
Jan. 29, 2015
San Francisco Renaissance: Come to the Water
Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin St.
Opening Program 6 p.m.
Come to the Water: African Americans at the Panama Pacific International Exposition includes a preview of the Wesley Johnson Sr. collection of African American memorabilia which is being presented in exhibition for the centennial of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition at the African American Art and Culture Complex in conjunction with California Historical Society and African American Center at San Francisco Public Library.
African American Freedom Trail
The San Francisco African American Freedom Trail tells how African-American pioneers locally changed the world. One option to see locations along the trail is the SF Soul Shuttle tour service which brings those stories to life. Standard tour itineraries include Landmarks Tour, Coltrane Corner, Barbecue Boulevard and Gospel and Grace. The next SFSoul Shuttle tour is slated for Jan. 16 at 10:45 a.m.
During January and February Artful Tour embarks on another art adventure; the "I Have a Dream" Tour takes place in San Francisco and Oakland. Tours are customized for date and time and involve a museum and gallery visit to see the work of modern African American Artists. Cost is $100 (plus museum admission fee) for a one-hour tour for up to four people and $25 for each additional person. 20-person maximum. Call 415-595-1282 for reservations.