Home Local Listing of MLK Day 2021 Events in Birmingham

Listing of MLK Day 2021 Events in Birmingham


In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, several annual MLK events will go virtual for 2021. Here’s a look at virtual and in-person events happening around Birmingham. As a reminder, City of Birmingham offices, except for police, fire and 911, will be closed on January 18 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.   

2021 MLK Day 5K Drum Run – Birmingham 

Sat., January 16

 This year’s fifth annual race will not be in person. Instead, organizers are encouraging participants to run a 5K on their own on Jan. 16 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Participants should then report their run time to organizers.  

Annually, the race features a lineup of Birmingham-area drumline musicians who perform along the race route to motivate runners and walkers. Because the race is not being held in person this year, organizers will release a drumline soundtrack for runners and walkers to listen to on Jan. 16. The soundtrack’s MP3 format will be available on Jan. 15 for participants to download.  

Those on the soundtrack include: Ramsay High School’s drumline; Freestyle Percussion Foundation; Exposure Drumline Foundation and Sahi On Ko Djony.  

The cost to participate is $35. Race proceeds will benefit the drumlines and community organizations participating in the run.  

The race website www.mlkday5kbham.com is available for registration, volunteer sign up and sponsorship. For more information, please contact Herman Mannings III at 470-444-9844 or via email at  info@leftoverenergy.com

The race’s social media platforms may be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as mlkday5kbham.  

Brothers and Bow Ties: A virtual event presented by the Birmingham Public Library   

Sat., January 16 – 10 a.m.  

 Join the Birmingham Public Library for this virtual event on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. as a panel of adult men from across metro Birmingham share words of encouragement for males between the ages of 11 and 18. The event will be held on the library’s Facebook page. No registration is necessary.  

Cedric D. Sparks, chief of staff for the City of Birmingham, will serve as host and moderator of the event.   Also, BPL is seeking donations of hats, gloves, coats, masks, tote bags, soup, sandwiches and other items to be distributed to those in need on Monday, January 18 at 10 a.m., while supplies last. It will be held at the downtown library location as part of the MLK Day of Service activities. Cars will need to drive through in order to collect the donations. For more information, please call 205-226-3741 or visit: https://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/2020/12/brothers-bow-ties-vision-cast-virtual.html  

Birmingham Islamic Society MLK Day of Service

Sat., January 16, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The Birmingham Islamic Society, Girls Thrive for Islam (BIS youth group), and the Islamic Circle of North America Relief (ICNA Relief) will host an “MLK Day of Service” at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center (2524 Hackberry Lane, Hoover, AL 35226). 

Volunteers from the Muslim community will distribute free hot meals, hygiene products, and some limited clothing to support others in the community going through hard times. Anyone is welcome to stop by with no questions asked. This is based on a first come, first serve basis. We look forward to serving our community. Please help us spread the word to those in need.

MLK Day of Service is designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. It is a God given duty upon us to be of service to our brothers and sisters in humanity.

 MLK and Kiwanis Club of Birmingham Day of Service 

Mon. January 18, 7 – 10 a.m. 

This event will help with needed maintenance projects, including the cleaning of the area, steps and walkways near Centennial Plaza, sanding and repainting of handrails, and trail clean up. 

*This MLK day of service activity will be held in person, outside and in accordance with social distancing guidelines. 

MLK Invitational 

Mon., January 18 – 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

High school student-athletes will compete in the MLK Invitational at the Birmingham CrossPlex, 2337 Bessemer Road. The event will start at 7 a.m.  Due to COVID-19 health concerns, this year’s set up will be a little different. A choir will not perform nor will there be the annual Unity Walk around the track. However, a tribute video to Martin Luther King Jr. will be played before each session starts.  There will be four sessions of competition. Those times are:  

Session 1 will be from 7 to 10 am  

Session 2 will be from 11 am to 2 pm 

Session 3 will be from 3 to 6 pm  

Session 4 will be from 7 to 10 pm  

Admission will be charged. Adults: $10 per session; 65 years and older: $5 per session; students are free. Questions? Call MLK Meet Director Devon Hind at 205-807-9144.  

MLK Free Day at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute 

Mon., January 18, at 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Tickets: www.bcri.org/visit-us 

Rather than a day filled with on-site live performances, they’ll maintain its existing timed ticketing and operational structure as well as museum features on January 18.  

While tickets will be free, they must be reserved online in order to limit attendance and promote social distancing.    

For more info, contact cwoods@bcri.org 

Stand Up for Justice: A Virtual Event Present by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute  

Mon., January 18 – 10:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.  

The Institute will host various panels and presentations on its Facebook page. For more information on this virtual event, go here.  

Justice in the Beloved Community: A Conversation on A Time to Break Silence 

Monday, January 18 at 6 p.m.  

Facebook Live: www.facebook.com/samforddiverse 

The conversation will center on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon, “A Time to Break Silence.’’ Cameron Thomas, director of Diversity Enrichment and Relations at Samford University, will moderate this virtual discussion. The two speakers will be (tentatively) Dr. Joseph Scrivner of Stillman College and Dr. Piotr Malysz of the Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. Together, they will discuss equity, justice and community. 

For more information, contact Jenee Spencer bspencer@samford.edu.  

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Food Drive with Half-Price Admission at the Birmingham Zoo 

Mon., January 18, 

In the spirit of service, the Birmingham Zoo will host a food drive in partnership with the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. Guests who bring a non-perishable or canned food item, will receive half-priced admission to the Zoo.   

*Limit one admission ticket per guest. Cannot be combined with any other coupons, discounts, or offers. 

MLK Jr. Day of Service 2021 with Hands on Birmingham    

Mon., January 18, at various times

Several volunteer opportunities are available via the Hands on Birmingham website. To check out the list or to sign up, visit www.https://givepul.se/aovpx3. Once on the website, look to the right and click on the calendar. Scroll down to Jan. 18 to see volunteer options like the one below:   

Bush Hills Community Garden – MLK Day of Service  

Volunteers are needed to help the Bush Hills Community with finalizing installation of a seasonal high tunnel, completing six raised beds and preparing flower beds for the community garden. Mask and social distancing will be REQUIRED 

When: Mon., January 18, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (CT) 

Address: 1030 4th Terrace West, Birmingham, AL 35208  

 Call Garden Manager April Williams at 205.266.9911 for more info. Mask and gloves are REQUIRED. If you do not have either item one will be provided for you. Please wear closed-toed shoes and layers of clothing. Due to social distancing, volunteers will be spaced out throughout the garden to remain safe and to keep their distance. Snacks and water will be provided. 

Social Justice Café: Dr. King’s Perception of Equity 

Tue., January 19, 4 p.m.  

A Zoom meeting will be held for this event. Zoom link is not yet available.  

The Social Justice Café meets weekly with community members to discuss issues related to social justice and human rights. Topics are announced ahead of time, and participation is open to anyone interested in joining the call. A moderator introduces a specific issue, poses questions, and generates a thoughtful conversation amongst participants, who are encouraged to share their thoughts on the topic.  

For King Week, there will be a conversation on Dr. King’s perception and interpretation of equity. Ajanet Rountree, a UAB graduate and PhD student at George Mason University, will moderate the discussion. She is an expert on women’s roles in the civil rights movement. 

Racial Reconciliation and its Historical Context at Birmingham-Southern College 

Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Zoom registration link: https://uab.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Xwjj8gI1RgqLruzWvCWDtA 

This virtual forum will be facilitated by Birmingham-Southern College’s Dr. Mark S. Schantz, chair of the Department of History. Guests will include recent BSC graduates Robyn Gulley, Ahkeem Lee and Austin Lewter. This forum will trace the history that has shaped student experiences and reflect upon how BSC might come to terms in honest and healing ways with elements of our past that often remain unremarked.  

For more info, contact kmwilli1@bsc.edu 

Virtual King Week Trivia Night 

Tues., January 21, at 7 p.m.

A free pub-style trivia night, celebrating King Week and the history of civil rights, will be a virtual event. The trivia will be centered around MLK and civil rights history. This event is open to the public. A Zoom link will be provided soon.  

For more information, contact craigd@uab.edu  

MLK Word From the Mountain Top Oratory Contest 

Sat., January 23, 2021 at 3 p.m.

Finalists will recite their winning entries during this virtual event.  

Online registration link: https://uab.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OehLX31NQ3-oa1gGuAvPuw 

For more info on this contest: https://www.uab.edu/dei/cace/community-engagement/word-from-the-mountain-top 

This contest recognizes and gives students the opportunity to reflect on the words of Dr. King while connecting his message to issues facing America today.  

For more information, contact: bwolfe@uab.edu