MLK Day Events In Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Ames, Davenport

Here are some of the free events in Iowa celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Cedar Rapids

• Monday: 7 p.m. on Facebook Live, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church annual celebration with music and speakers; Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris “Who is My Neighbor” Award will be given to an adult and a high school senior, recognized for diligently working for justice in Linn County. Details:

Iowa City

The 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Human Rights is a collaborative effort between the University of Iowa, city of Iowa City and several community organizations.

• Monday events:

MLK Jr. Day of Service Virtual Celebration: 10 a.m. on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, with bell ringing ceremony, guest speakers, performances and resource fair.

Unity March Car Parade: noon to 1 p.m. join Johnson County Board of Supervisors, community leaders and members, meet at 913 S. Dubuque St.

Community Lunch: 12:30 to 2 p.m., one free meal per person while supplies last, at Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ Food Truck, 1104 S. Gilbert St.

Online program: 7 to 8 p.m., with Corridor guests; details and online links at

See the CR Gazette for more info.


An Iowa African American Hall of Fame inductee and member of the city’s human relations commission, Wayne Clinton is the keynote speaker for Story County’s 35th annual MLK Day Celebration.

Wayne Clinton is the keynote speaker for Story County's MLK Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 18

The event on Monday will take place from 6:30-7:45 p.m., live via Zoom, the Ames/Story County MLK Celebration Facebook page and Ames’ YouTube channel. The Zoom link and other program details can be found on the Facebook page.

Des Moines

Check out this link for online events.

8th Annual MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast

NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter of the Minnesota Vikings will give the keynote address for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, a virtual gathering held by the John R. Grubb YMCA on Des Moines’ east side. The event at 8 a.m. Monday is free, but donations will be accepted to support learning programs including Starfish Academy, a summer literacy camp, and to help local families in need of financial assistance.

WHO-TV 13 news anchor Jodi Long will be the program’s emcee and will moderate a panel discussion by Justyn Lewis, founder and president of Des Moines Selma, a nonprofit that seeks to raise awareness of racial injustice; Kameron Middlebrooks, former Midwestern regional director of the NAACP; and Courageous Fire, leader of Courageous Fire LLC, a company focused on healing from domestic violence.

Click here for more information and events


Each year, Davenport joins Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Commemoration Day.

This year, the event will feature Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and political contributor for NBC and MSNBC. Alcindor’s January 18 presentation, “The Legacy of MLK: Purpose, Truth and Justice,” will be hosted as a virtual event.

There is no charge to participate.

What: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
When: January 18, 2021 at 6:30pm
Where: A virtual MLK Day Celebration. Register here

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