The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will host events during King Week, Jan. 8-15, celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to commemorate the commission’s 25th anniversary. Events are free and open to the public, according to a news release.
Monday, Jan. 8 — 9-11 a.m. The MLK Commission and the Christian Ministerial Alliance kick off King Week with an official press conference at the L.C. and Daisy Bates Home and National Historic Site, 1207 W. 28th St. at Little Rock. Bates was a civil rights leader and mentor to the Little Rock “Nine.” The MLK Commission is also partnering with Habitat for Humanity for updates to the home. Volunteers are needed to assist in renovations Jan. 8 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 10 — 9 a.m. — Funding the Dream Youth Oratorical Contest will be held at Booker Arts Magnet Elementary in partnership with the Little Rock School District, Arkansas Department of Education and the Office of Dennis Milligan, State Treasurer. The Treasurer’s Office will award six AR529 plans to the winners.
Thursday, Jan. 11 — 3-7 p.m. — Youth Summit Series 2018, Life Skills for Youth, will be held in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The interactive event for youth will feature speakers and breakout sessions. Dinner will be provided for all confirmed youth attendees.
Friday, Jan. 12 — 6 p.m. — King Holiday Empowerment Symposium and Legends Concert featuring Howard Hewett will be held at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at Little Rock. Doors open at 5 p.m. Officials will honor community leaders who exhibit King’s legacy of service and feature a free concert with Hewett, former lead singer of Shalamar.
Saturday, Jan. 13 — noon — 2018 King Weekend Youth Explosion will be held at Hot Springs High School at Hot Springs. The MLK Commission will team up with the Arkansas Department of Education to promote the R.I.S.E. program to promote literacy. The event will include artistic presentations from area youth and five high school seniors will receive scholarships based on the best responses to the essay topic “The Relevance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr….Today.” Actor, writer and director Kel Mitchell, star of Good Burger on Nickelodeon, will make an appearance and Allison Williams of the office of Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be the keynote speaker.
Saturday, Jan- 13 — 5 p.m. — A free concert with gospel recording artist, Melvin Williams will occur at Dermott High School Gymnasium at Dermott. The event will feature motivational speakers, live music and a vendor showcase to provide outreach to the Southeast Arkansas area.
Sunday, Jan. 14 — “Celebration of Worship” will be held at First Missionary Baptist Church, 701 S. Gaines St., Little Rock. King was invited to preach at the church’s 118th anniversary in 1963 by the pastor, Roland Smith, a former Morehouse classmate, and stayed in the church’s parsonage, according to the release. The MLK Commission has also partnered with Habitat for Humanity to provide renovations to the parsonage. Volunteers are needed for the restoration of the parsonage, Jan. 14, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 14 — 1-4:30 p.m. — “Soul Food and Service Sunday,” will feature a Museum and Library tour of Mother Annie Abrams home at Little Rock. The educational event includes dinner and a self-guided tour of the museum and library. Abrams’ home hosts thousands of historical documents, books, and programs. A prize will be awarded to the guest who brings the oldest obituary.
Official Statewide King Holiday activities Monday, Jan. 15:
6-9 a.m. — The official Statewide King Holiday Commemorative Events will include a live service broadcast from North Little Rock High School hosted by Power 92 Cumulus Broadcasting.
8 a.m. — Interfaith Prayer Breakfast will be held at the Governor’s Mansion. The event is by invitation only.
1 p.m. — 2018 MEGA KINGFEST will be held at North Little Rock High School in partnership with North Little Rock School District and the Arkansas Department of Education. The event will feature Miss Arkansas 2017, Maggie Benton, as the keynote speaker. A dance will be performed by ZaeHD. A free youth concert will feature youth rap artists AYO & TEO. The Arkansas Repertory Theater Youth Ensemble will perform a King Holiday musical presentation. A Day of Service Community Service Projects will also be held.