Local events commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Volunteerism and remembrances mark birthday of civil-rights leader

Celebrations honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. are set to begin Friday. Here is a list of events in the Palo Alto area.

King Institute open house: On Friday, Jan. 16, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University will host its annual open house and celebration of the civil rights leader's life and work.

The event starts at noon and will highlight the institute's newest publication, "The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Volume VII 'To Save the Soul of America, January 1961 - August 1962,'" which documents King's early relationship with President John F. Kennedy and his efforts to remain relevant in an increasingly militant protest movement.

The event will also feature entertainment from 3 to 5 p.m. from acclaimed jazz pianist Tammy Hall and Stanford University alumna Jessica Anderson, a former member of the Stanford Gospel Choir and co-founder of the Afro-Fusion Jazz ensemble Chicago Collective. Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, professor emerita, author and activist, will be present to sign her new book, "Destiny's Child: Memoirs of a Preacher's Daughter," which traces 200 years of African American history through Gibb's own family and personal story. She will also talk about her memories of dating King during the early 1950s when they were both students in Boston. For more infomration, visit

MLK Freedom Day: Heartbeat Earth and Silicon Valley Families is holding its MLK Freedom Day on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Onetta Harris Community Center, 100 Terminal Ave., Menlo Park. The event, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee of First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, Youth Community Service, Reach and Teach and PAN African City Alive, will feature games, expressive art and guest speakers. Entrance is free, but a $5 donation to benefit Youth Community Service, an organization that offers students ways to get involved in the community, is suggested. For more information, visit

Day of service: Join the nonprofit Youth Community Service and the City of Palo Alto Recreation Department for a community-wide day of service as part of a nationwide event to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The event will take place on Monday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto.

Freedom Train: Caltrain will run the annual chartered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Train on Monday, Jan. 19, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The train is chartered by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley and will depart from the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station at 9:45 a.m. and will travel to the San Francisco Caltrain Station. There is no special southbound service, but Freedom Train tickets will be accepted on southbound trains departing San Francisco after 1 p.m. that day. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley here.

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