The Chicagoland artistic and cultural community with be out in full force with thought-provoking and poignant tributes honoring the enduring memory and powerful legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King today on the annual celebration of the Civil Rights Leader and Nobel Peace Prize-winner’s life. From music to theater to programs at Chicago’s world class museums, Chicago’s arts community will offer an opportunity to pause and remember the calling of one of the greatest proponents for freedom and human rights the world has ever known. 

In the 2014 installment of their annual celebration of Dr. King’s life, The Chicago Sinfonietta, led by Taiwan-born conductor Mei-Ann Chen, will present a diverse program of works by Verdi, Strauss, Morton Gould’s Revival, a Fantasy on Six Spirituals and avant pop composer Jacob TV’s thought-provoking multimedia work, Mountain Top. The concert, which takes place 7:30 p.m. tonight at Symphony Center, will include the Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir and the Roosevelt University CCPA Conservatory Chorus. Visit for more details.

The DuSable Museum of African American History will present “The Drum Major for Justice,” a full day of activities honoring Dr. King with the theme: “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community.” From 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., the museum (located at 740 East 56th Place) will offer educational events and performances to enlighten guests and commemorate Dr. King’s life and legacy. Visit or call 773.947.0600 for more information.

At 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. today, The Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy Pier will present “What Does It Mean To Be King?” The lively interactive presentation sets a narrative context for what the Civil Rights Movement really means for kids today through a platform of live theater and song. Visit for more information.

Visitors to the Morton Grove Public Library will have a day of activities to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with high energy show featuring West African drumming, dancing and high flying acrobatics. The show is free and open to the public. Call 847-929-5102 or visit for more information.

And The African American Arts Alliance of Illinois will present its annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration profiling black artists in the Windy City. The event, which takes place 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. this evening at the Black Ensemble Theatre Cultural Center on north Clark Street, features an eclectic slate of performances from music to poetry to dance. Visit or call 773.754.3923 for more details.

Civil Rights Leader and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before the throngs of listeners at the Mall in Washington, D.C. (photo: AP).

Chicago Arts Community Celebrates Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.