One of Kansas’ largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations starts at noon Monday at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 29th Street North and Oliver.
The annual event typically draws hundreds of people who celebrate King’s message of service, inspiration and leadership through dance and choir performances and speeches.
The Greater Wichita Ministerial League and WSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion are sponsoring the event.
This year’s theme is “In Pursuit of the Dream.”
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In addition, an exhibit highlighting the 50th anniversary of the Selma voting rights campaign is on display at the Kansas African American Museum.
The exhibit, “Selma to Montgomery: The Long Walk to Freedom,” highlights the events that set the stage for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It runs through April 18.
Featured in the exhibit are two people killed in the last attempts to march to Montgomery, Ala.: the Rev. James J. Reeb, who was born in Wichita, and Viola Lizzo, a Michigan housewife. After their deaths, Americans demanded laws to protect demonstrators and voters’ rights.
The museum, 601 N. Water, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5.50 for adults, $2.50 for ages 5 and older.
King, an eloquent Baptist minister from Atlanta, is best known for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means, much of which happened 50 years ago.
The MLK federal holiday was officially observed for the first time by all 50 states in 2000. Wichitans have honored King through the years since his death on April 4, 1968.
Closures on MLK holiday
The following Wichita facilities will be closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Neighborhood Resource Centers, Wichita Public Library locations, Park and Recreation centers, Watson Park, Great Plains Nature Center, Old Cowtown Museum, Mid-America All-Indian Center, Century II administrative offices, Wichita Art Museum and Botanica.
Transit bus service and administration offices will be closed.
The Animal Shelter will be open 1 to 5 p.m.
Riverside Tennis Center is open 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
CityArts and Municipal golf courses will be open.
In addition, the U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail on Monday, and banks will be closed.