Martin Luther King, Jr. Day | Online Resources


Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) celebrates the history, spirit, and life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. one of America’s greatest heroes of social justice and equality. This year, WRHS commemorates Dr. King’s legacy by offering a unique online Martin Luther King, Jr. Day resource. On this day of reflection, experience a curated collection of free digital programs, activities, and content you can safely explore from home!

Western Reserve Historical Society is grateful to the George Gund Foundation for their generous support of WRHS’s African American history and culture initiatives.


 Explore historical photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cleveland and other selections from the WRHS African American Archives, download activity sheets, and read these informative blog articles for individuals of all ages to gain a unique perspective on what it means to give back and be a hero to their community.

Visit this link to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. visits to Cleveland.


Observed each year on the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an annual day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. This “day on, not a day off,” is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer and work to improve their communities. Below you will find just a handful of the countless individuals who dedicated their lives to the betterment of their families, neighbors, and community. These individuals are featured in the Cleveland History Center’s Cleveland Starts Here® exhibit, sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. 


Hover your mouse over the profiles to pause the slideshow

WRHS is far richer with the hard work and support of our volunteers as well as our Auxiliaries: Friends of the Cleveland History Center, Genealogical Committee, African American Archives Auxiliary, and Citizens of Hale Farm & Village. Thank you so much for your meaningful help.


At WRHS, we prioritize people – the WRHS community and the communities we serve. WRHS strives for a culture of excellence, diversity, equity, access and inclusion. We apply best practices to the stewardship of our places, collections and digital resources. It is our purpose to empower an entrepreneurial spirit to create, promote, and sustain a relevant, experience driven organization. We approach our work through an equity lens to ensure that collections, experiences, staff and board reflect the rich diversity of Northeast Ohio.


MLK Jr. Day

January 16, 2023 | 10:00am- 4:00pm

Join us January 16th as we commemorate MLK Jr. Day with free admission to the Cleveland History Center! Learn about the heroes of the past, and see how their lives have continued to shape our future.


Black History Celebration at Hale Farm & Village

February 11, 2023 | 12:00am- 4:00pm

Join us for a unique in-person and virtual event exploring the power of storytelling and the ‘doing’ of history! Community partners will join us to highlight Black narratives through living history, music, and art. Ongoing interactive experiences will connect guests to primary sources and the process of history in new and unique ways.
Admission to the event is free, and hosted onsite within our Gatehouse Visitor Center; grounds may be open, weather-permitting, but historic sites will be closed.


History on Tap: A Celebration of Black Culture

February 23, 2023 | 5:00am- 8:00pm

Join us for happy hour at the Cleveland History Center to celebrate Black History Month with our History on Tap event! Focusing on the life and works of Allen E. Cole and the ongoing perspective of black culture through art in Cleveland, we will host interdisciplinary artists from Cleveland’s ever-expanding visual arts community.

Tickets Include:

  • Special performance by DJ 8-bit
  • Collaborative art stations
  • Unique photo opportunities
  • Meet and greet with local artists
  • Pop-up exhibit showcasing WRHS Collections
  • Access to all museum galleries
  • FREE Discussion: The work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel,
    January 19, 2023 6:00pm – 7:00pm (Zoom Link)


Free with paid admission to the Cleveland History Center. Cocktails, beer, wine, and snacks available for purchase.


Choose Your Own Date When You Book This Speaking of Cleveland Program!

Speaking of Cleveland | Black Innovators of Northeast Ohio


How did African-American inventors and entrepreneurs impact the history of Northeast Ohio? In this program, learn about three black Clevelanders — Garrett Morgan, Alonzo Wright, and Amanda Wicker — who improved the city through their commitments to innovation, education, and community. Participants will reflect on the contributions of these community leaders in order to identify problems and imagine solutions to issues in their lives.

Learn More!


  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture Martin Luther King, Jr. Online Collection

  2. The Immortal Messages of Martin Luther King Jr.

  3. Martin Luther King’s Last Speech

  4. Talking About Race

  5. Allen E. Cole Photographs

  6. Carl Stokes Photographs

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