1929 was a significant year in The United States. Wall Street crashes, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is created in New York City, and the Academy Awards debuts for the first time. That same year, Anne Frank, Barbara Walters, and Martin Luther King Jr. were born. These three well-known figures all seem to come from entirely different eras, but time is a tricky thing. The fact that Barbara Walters is still kickin’ highlights the fact that we are not terribly far from the civil rights era as it seems. On January 20th (what would have been his 91st birthday), Houston offers many different ways to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Dr. King was no stranger to the Bayou City, having delivered speeches here regularly from 1958-1967. Houston itself is home to two separate MLK Day parades — one in its 42nd year and another in its 26th. The Black Heritage Society joins the City of Houston in hosting the 42nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade on Monday, January 20, 2020 in downtown Houston. At its helm is Grand Marshal, George Foreman — the Olympic gold medalist and a two-time heavyweight boxing champion who also happens to be a Houstonian himself. Right down the street in Midtown is the 26th Annual MLK Grande Parade originating on San Jacinto Street, while their 14th Annual MLK Youth Parade is scheduled two days prior on January 18.

Though Rothko Chapel has been closed for renovations, observers can still visit the renowned Broken Obelisk sculpture that sits outside of it in a tranquil reflecting pool connected to the grounds of The Menil Collection. With the condition that it be dedicated to the memory of MLK, this sculpture was acquired by John de Menil in 1970 and is now a Houston institution.

To further celebrate Dr. King, Rothko Chapel is also joining forces with Texas Southern University, one of the nation’s largest historically black university where MLK himself delivered speeches. On January 25th, this partnership will present a conversation exploring the influence of MLK and the Civil Rights Movement on the current environmental justice movement. 

Another Houston monument honoring MLK can be found across the lawn from a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Hermann Park’s McGovern Centennial Gardens. This bronze likeness by Denver artist Ed Dwight has been a beloved feature since its installation in 2007. 


Nearby in the Museum District, The Children’s Museum proves that the kids are, indeed, alright, by honoring Dr. King’s legacy with their 24th Annual MLK Day Celebration. Kids and their families are invited to sing African American spirituals, listen to the, “I Have a Dream” speech, and march down Kid’s Hall holding a peace rally.