MLK Day in Kansas City, MO

The Martin Luther King Jr. mural in Kansas City.
The MLK mural at Troost Avenue + Linwood Boulevard. | Photo by KCtoday

Table of Contents

Mon., Jan. 17 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Today, we’re remembering his presence in Kansas City + offering a few ways you can honor his life and legacy.

Connections to KC

Dr. King visited the metro at least six different times in documented trips from 1957-1968:

  • ~750 people listened to MLK speak at St. Stephen Baptist Church following his cover on Time magazine.
  • The following year in 1958, he spoke at Sumner High School in KCK. This was six months prior to a department store boycott organized by KC area civil rights activists in protest of segregation policies.
  • In March 1961, Dr. King visited again to speak to 400 people at a “Temple Brotherhood” dinner at Congregation B’nai Jehudah — specifically about non-violent resistance.
  • Another visit in September that year brought him to an annual convention of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. Inc. There isn’t much record of Dr. King speaking.
  • About a year later, Martin Luther King Jr. returned to the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium to speak at the annual Festival of Faith, which was a service observing the Protestant Reformation.
  • King’s last visit to the metro was Jan. 18, 1968 at Kansas State University, where he voiced his opposition to the Vietnam War.

Honoring 

Martin Luther King Jr. Nature Walk | Mon., Jan. 17 | 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Square Park, Woodland Ave., Kansas City, MO | Free | A guided 2.5-mile walk with a shuttle back to the beginning. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration | Mon., Jan. 17 | 11 a.m. | Virtual | Donation | An annual event with a 2022 theme “Decaying Democracy, Vaporous Voting Rights, Rising Pandemic…Still Dreaming.” 

Day of Service | Mon., Jan. 17 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Linwood Family YMCA, 3800 Linwood Rd., Kansas City, MO | Free | Stations include creating hygiene kits, Bed of Bags, assembling PBJ sandwiches, and diversity + inclusion projects.