Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum more

Commemorative Day

Virtual Event | MLK Day: King in Chicago

Monday, January 18

A Baptist minister and champion of nonviolent activism, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential figures of the civil rights movement. He spent considerable time in Chicago protesting racial discrimination, particularly in housing and education. Explore ways the Chicago History Museum continues to preserve and amplify King’s legacy of action and activism in our annual family-friendly event. Take a virtual tour of the Chicago places Dr. King frequented such as the North Lawndale neighborhood and places of worship, participate in virtual storytelling, and create hands-on history art highlighting Dr. King’s messages of justice, peace, and change. More to come soon; we look forward to seeing you!

This event is free of charge; we would greatly appreciate a donation to the Museum in any amount. Zoom links will be provided after registration.

Listen to our Spotify playlist “MLK Day: King in Chicago,” which features a selection of songs and speeches in support of and inspired by the American Civil Rights Movement.


Charles E. Bethea, CHM Andrew W. Mellon Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs

Social Studies | Space
CHM assistant curator Julius L. Jones shares places and spaces where Dr. King was active in Chicago with Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago, a self-guided virtual tour created in partnership with Vamonde.
All ages welcome

Social Studies | Conversation
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington moderates a discussion with exhibition curator Joy L. Bivins and CHM assistant curator Brittany Hutchinson about the creation of our exhibition Remembering Dr. King: 1929–1968.
Recommended for 6th grade and up

Social Studies | Conversation
Join Peter T. Alter, CHM chief historian and director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History, and Blanche Suggs-Killingsworth, head of the North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society, for a talk on Dr. King’s activism in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood and how it has inspired contemporary activism there.
Recommended for 6th grade and up

Social Studies | Conversation
Join Peter T. Alter, CHM chief historian and director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History, as he talks to Lawndale Pop-Up Spot cofounders Chelsea Ridley and Jonathan Kelley, along with Jay Simon, photographer and curator of their exhibition Lawndale: A Living History.
Recommended for 6th grade and up

1:00 p.m. – Social Studies | Hands-on History*
Protest Signs arts workshop with teaching artist Justin Ricks
All ages welcome

*Supply List for Hands-on History (expand to view)
You will need craft supplies for the arts workshop today, but you might already have the items!

Art supplies you might have at home:

  • Cardboard box or cereal box
  • Magazines or preprinted images you can cut up
  • White pillowcase or square piece of cloth
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • Scissors

If you need to purchase items, try Michael’s in-store or online: 

  • White foam board, Item #10110205, $3
  • Construction paper (any color), Item #10249326, $6.39
  • Glue sticks, Item #10176962, $3.79
  • Scissors (childproof if needed), Item #10268872, $1.99
  • Markers, Item #10122061, $5.99

Social Studies | Hands-on History
Reimagining King Drive arts workshop with teaching artist Justin Ricks
All ages welcome

Social Studies | Theater
Storytelling with Gwen Hilary and Enoch Robinson
All ages welcome

Social Studies | Theater
Harold Green, King in Continuum
Recommended for 6th grade and up

Social Studies | Sound
Joan Collaso and Timeless Gifts, A Legacy for America’s Children: Martin Luther King Jr.
All ages welcome

Social Studies | Sound
Sadie Woods, It Was a Rebellion
Recommended for 6th grade and up 


Select Biographies

Joy L. Bivins has spent nearly two decades working in cultural institutions sharing history with diverse audiences. Currently, she is the associate director of Collections and Research Services at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of New York Public Library’s four research libraries. Previously, Bivins was chief curator of the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. She has also served as the director of Curatorial Affairs at the Chicago History Museum (CHM), where she helped shape content with the Museum’s curators and historians. While at CHM, Bivins curated or co-curated several exhibitions, including Amplified: Chicago Blues (2018), Remembering Dr. King: 19291968 (2018), Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair (2013), and Facing Freedom in America (2010). Bivins is a native of Chicago’s South Side and received her MA in Africana Studies from Cornell University and a BA in history and Afroamerican and African Studies from the University of Michigan.


A color photograph of a Black man against a green patterned wall. He has a beard and is wearing a white buttoned shit and a green blazer with gold stripes on the lapels.

Harold Green is an ever-evolving artist with a skill set that defies categorization. Primarily a poet, his vibrant storytelling and passionate lyrical delivery continue to captivate audiences both domestically and internationally. Using poetry as his central art form, Green is a highly sought-after talent, bandleader, and event producer. His self-published first collection of poetry (From Englewood, with Love, 2014) earned him a prestigious Carl Sandburg Literary Award for the work, and his poetry has been featured in numerous and unexpected venues, including the Illinois Holocaust Museum and on TEDx. He is also the architect and curator of “Flowers for the Living,” an annual collaboration project that layers poetry on performances by Chicago’s top singers and musicians.


Justin Ricks is a multihyphenated artist who specializes in printmaking and graphics. A native Chicagoan, his educational background in engineering and design has prepared him for a dedication to the beautification of communities on the South and West Sides of Chicago. “My mission as an Artist is to develop opportunities concurrently with developing neighborhoods to function in a more safe and healthy way.”





From left: Civil rights leaders Fred Shuttlesworth, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ralph Abernathy attend a funeral for victims of the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963. The September 15, 1963 bombing killed four young African American girls. ICHi-36730
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Al Raby, and followers walk up Independence Boulevard to apartments at 3808 West Fillmore Street, Chicago, September 30, 1966. ST-40000567-0003, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Al Raby (left) inspect a hole in an apartment wall, Chicago, September 30, 1966. ST-40000567-0009, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM
Protestors walk along a sidewalk holding rent strike signs, Chicago, September 30, 1966. ST-40000567-0024, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

The Details



18 th

11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Event Location

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories