MLK Day 2016 Iowa Events

MLK with flag

Many events are planned for Monday’s national MLK Day of Service and observance of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

SERVICE: The website includes a database of formal projects planned for Monday, including several in the Des Moines area. Several organizations are soliciting donations of clothing, food and personal items.

This is a selection of Des Moines-area donation sites and other holiday events:

AMES: Birthday celebration, 6:30 p.m., Ames Middle School, 3915 Mortensen Road. Cake and a program commemorating King’s life and service.

DES MOINES: MLK prayer breakfast, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veterans Memorial, 833 Fifth Ave. $30. Proceeds benefit the Grubb Annual Campaign. Includes breakfast and a keynote address by Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Registration required at

DES MOINES: Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, 4 p.m., Forest Avenue Library, 1326 Forest Ave. Program honors King’s legacy.

DES MOINES: Speech by Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and pastoral associate for Priests for Life. 6-7:30 p.m., North High School auditorium, 501 Holcomb Ave. Free. Hosted by Concerned Women for America of Iowa. A $25 breakfast follows at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at Airport Holiday Inn and Conference Center, 6111 Fleur Drive in Des Moines.

DES MOINES: Donation collection for families in need, Iowa College Student Aid Commission, 430 E. Grand Ave., floor 3. Bring toilet paper, diapers sizes 3, 4 and 5, baby formula, wipes, personal hygiene goods, toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner. Call 818-471-2198 for information.

URBANDALE: Imagine Enough for Everyone, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Urbandale Public Library, 3520 86th St. Bring new personal care items, scarves and hats, and food items. You can also knit and color on site and pledge action against hunger.

Eastern Iowa

Cedar Rapids

African American Museum of Iowa

Monday: 3 p.m., “The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Museum educator Krystal Gladden will put King’s work into the context of the opposition to desegregation, especially in the South. 3:45 p.m., “The Children’s March.” Film detailing events leading up to the Birmingham March on May 2, 1963, when hundreds of children faced police dogs, fire hoses and arrest to march against segregation. Details: 55 12th Ave. SE; admission by donation; programs appropriate for ages 10 and up, parental guidance recommended; (319) 862-2101 or

Coe College

Monday: “A Day On, Not A Day Off,” morning speeches and music open to the public, afternoon service activities by Coe community. 9:30 a.m., Welcome by Coe President Dave McInally; 9:45 a.m., music by gospel singers; 10 a.m., keynote address by Brie Swenson-Arnold, Coe associate professor of history; 10:45 a.m., speeches and slam poetry by Coe students; 11:45 a.m., closing remarks by community leader Stacey Walker, with more gospel music. Details: Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall, 1220 First Ave. SE; free;


Monday: Discussion on King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, 3:50 to 5 p.m., Betty Cherry Heritage Hall; student service projects during the day. Details: 1330 Elmhurst Dr. NE,


Sunday: DeAmon Harges, community builder and social innovator, preaching at 8:15 a.m. in the chapel, 9 a.m. in the sanctuary, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. in the Wesley Center; he also leads a workshop from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Wesley Center. Monday: 7 p.m., sanctuary, 26th Annual Community Observation Celebration, with Harges speaking about asset-based community development and presentation of the Dr. Percy & Lileah Harris “Who Is My Neighbor?” award. Details: 1340 Third Ave. SE;

Iowa City

The Spot

Monday: Community project, 9 to 11 a.m.; awards ceremony, 11 a.m., highlighting area youth, plus entertainment; community project, 2 to 4 p.m. Sponsors: Neighborhood Center of Johnson County, Black Voices Project, AmeriCorps, United Action for Youth, Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, Iowa Legal Aid, and Johnson County Social Services. Details: 1030 Crosspark Ave.

University of Iowa

MLK Celebration week includes a student service day Monday, followed by speakers and special programs, all free and open to the public.

Monday; Day of Service for UI community; public food/item drive for the Shelter House and Crisis Center, at local Hy-Vee food stores (need list at

Tuesday: 7:30 p.m., speaker Jamilah Lemieux of Brooklyn, N.Y., digital news and lifestyle editor for Ebony magazine; Main Lounge, Iowa Memorial Union, 125 N. Madison St.

Wednesday): Noon to 1 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Lecture by Paul Farmer, Kolokotrones University professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School; Room 1110A, UI Medical Education Research Facility, 375 Newton Rd.; 5 to 6:30 p.m., Chief Diversity Office’s 2016 Update on Diversity and Inclusion, Iowa Theater, Iowa Memorial Union, 125 N. Madison St.

Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “White Privilege: Racism, White Denial, and the Cost of Inequality” film screening and reception, Ellig Classroom (N120) College of Public Health Building, 145 N. Riverside Dr.; noon to 12:50 p.m., speaker Dr. Chris Buresh, Room 1117, Medical Education Research Facility, 375 Newton Rd.

Feb. 19: Noon to 2 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Research Symposium, Jones Commons, N300 Lindquist Center, 240 S. Madison St.

West Branch

Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum

Monday: 2 p.m., “Selma” screening. The 2015 movie chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when King led a campaign to secure equal voting rights. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Details: Figge Auditorium, 210 Parkside Dr.; free with paid museum admission, free to $10;

Quad Cities

Events celebrating Martin Luther King Junior Day will not only recognize the civil rights leader’s birthday, but also look to the future. Monday, residents in the area will have several chances to remember the national holiday.

United Neighbors in Davenport will hold its annual King Day Celebration from 10:30 am until noon. Ida Johnson, a member of Women’s Connection and a past recipient of the Iowa MLK Lifetime Achievement Award, will be the guest speaker.

In Rock Island, the King Center will hold its 33rd annual Memorial Service and Awards Celebration, from 10:30 am until noon. The guest speaker will be Reverend P. Wonder Harris, who will talk about breaking the “silence of injustice.”

In Galesburg, Knox College will present its Martin Luther King Convocation at 11 am. Three faculty members will speak, on issues like protesting, and the college’s choir will perform.

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