Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend 2023 at the MuseumJanuary 14-16, 2023
Honor the life, service, and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. over MLK Weekend at the Museum to discover the ongoing legacy of the American Revolution and learn what it takes to change the world.
Wait Means Never: A Musical Exploration of MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Developed by the Philadelphia Jazz Project | Included in Museum admission
Liberty Hall (third floor) | Saturday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m.
Wait Means Never is an engaging intermingling of spoken word, singing, and instrumental music paying tribute to one of America’s greatest citizens and thinkers, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The hour-long performance developed by the Philadelphia Jazz Project will focus on his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, a timeless letter that is a profoundly engaging rumination on faith, race, community, justice, democracy, and humanity. Performers include Bethlehem Roberson, vocals and percussion; Jocko MacNelly, bass and guitar; Kendra Butler Waters, keyboard; Malik Henry, drums and percussion; Marcell Bellinger, trumpet and keyboard; Josh Lee, saxophone; and Warren Longmire, poet and spoken-word artist.
Black Voices of the Revolution: Gallery Highlights Tour
Onsite | Saturday & Sunday at 12 p.m.
Join a Museum educator for the debut weekend of our new 60-minute tour of the core exhibit galleries, which highlights a diverse set of stories, experiences, and objects related to people of African descent during the American Revolution. Along the way, you’ll see a first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, learn about Elizabeth Freeman’s historic court case, consider what the engraving “No Slavery” on a Continental Army soldier’s musket meant, and discuss Harry Washington’s international life. Through it all, you’ll have the opportunity to consider what words like freedom, liberty, and equality meant for different people within the Revolutionary era, and how these ideas continue to influence our lives today.
Meet the Revolution with Daryian Kelton & Hugh Goffinet
Onsite | Saturday, Jan. 14
Kelton will present the story of Polydore Redman, a man of African descent who went on to become a drummer in the 5th Pennsylvania (Continental) Battalion. Goffinet will explore the story of Harry Washington, who was enslaved by George and Martha Washington before he found freedom through service in the British army. Part of the African American Interpretive Program supported by Comcast NBCUniversal, Meet the Revolution is an ongoing series of costumed living history programs that explore the voices, viewpoints, and experiences of the diverse people of the Revolutionary era.
Meet Elizabeth Freeman Performance
Onsite (Alan B. Miller Theater) | Daily, 1:15 & 3:15 p.m.
Watch a first-person theatrical performance portraying the life and experiences of Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Mumbet, a Massachusetts woman who sued for her freedom from enslavement and won. The performance stars Katelyn E. Appiah-Kubi as Elizabeth Freeman and was written by Teresa Miller.
Revolution Place Discovery Center
Onsite (lower level) | Daily, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Explore Revolution Place, the Museum’s family-friendly discovery center, which brings to life Old City’s lively, diverse neighborhood during the1700s and invites visitors to learn through hands-on exploration. Kids of all ages can immerse themselves in four historical environments – a military encampment, a tavern, a parlor, and an 18th-century meeting house – to experience the places where the American Revolution took root. Throughout the weekend, Revolution Place visitors can participate in an activity based on poetry written by Phillis Wheatley, the first published Black female poet.
Community Engagement Wall
Onsite (Robert A. M. Stern Rotunda) | Daily
How can you create change in your community? Guests can share how they are carrying forward the Revolution’s promises of liberty and equality at a community engagement wall in the Museum’s first-floor rotunda.
In-Gallery Talks: Let Them Vote
Onsite | Daily
Join a Museum educator at the When Women Lost the Vote tableau in our core galleries for a 10-minute talk to learn about voting rights for women and people of color in New Jersey from 1776-1807.
Discovery Cart: Protest in Early America
Onsite & Online | Daily, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Join a Museum educator at this discovery cart that uses images and replica objects to spark conversations about the stories told in the Museum's American Liberties, 1765-1775 gallery. Examine how early Americans used boycotts, printed propaganda, violence, and public demonstrations to advocate for various causes and helps guests consider similarities and differences between the 18th century and today.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Promises of the American Revolution
Online | Anytime
Throughout many of his speeches and writings, King powerfully invoked the words and messages of the American Revolution in his calls for civil and economic rights and in speaking out against racism. By invoking the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, King returned often to a central tenet of his work: holding America and its people to the promise of “the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to all men, a promise made by the Founders against the backdrop of the practice of slavery and the displacement of Native peoples.