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How To Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day In Central Texas

The shadow of a Martin Luther King Jr. statue posted on the University of Texas campus.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News
The Martin Luther King Jr. statue was erected on the UT Austin campus in 1999.

Communities across Central Texas will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. starting this weekend. Here’s a list of local events honoring the civil rights icon.


Austin’s annual community march will kickoff with a short program at the MLK statue on the UT Austin campus on Monday at 9 a.m. The march will head to the south steps of the Capitol then proceed to the Huston-Tillotson University for a festival and food drive. The MLK Community Festival will run from 11:15 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and feature vendors and live music. Participants are asked to bring canned goods or nonperishable food items to donate to the Central Texas Food Bank. Donation bins will also be available at all three locations. 

Hays County is observing the day with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Crossroads Memorial on the corner of MLK and LBJ drives in San Marcos. The ceremony will begin Monday at 9:30 and be followed by a silent march to the Dunbar Recreation Center. Individuals and businesses are welcome to donate a wreath for the ceremony. The event will end with remarks from San Marcos High School Principal, Denisha Presley. 

Bastrop will celebrate its 31st annual Walk for Peace, Justice and Equality on Monday. The event will kick off at the Elgin Depot Museum at 10 a.m. A program will follow at Booker T. Washington Elementary School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Georgetown is having a parade at noon Monday from the Williamson County Courthouse to the Macedonia Baptist Church. After the seven-block march, there will be a discussion at 12:30 p.m. about the relevance of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech today. In addition, the African American Shotgun House will be open for visitors from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Days of Service

Several local organizations are hosting special events to illustrate the importance of volunteering and giving back. 

In honor of King, the United Way Greater Austin is organizing its annual street cleanup in East Austin. Volunteers will divide into groups and head outside to pick up litter along East MLK Jr. Boulevard from Interstate 35 to U.S. 183. The event will start at the United Way with a welcome breakfast Saturday at 9 a.m. and last until 11 a.m. 

United Way of Williamson County locations in Cedar Park, Georgetown, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock and Taylor will host Day of Service projects on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are invited to help with activities such as painting or light construction work, helping in school gardens and sorting donations.

Georgetown Project is hosting a Youth Service Day on Monday for high school students. The event will take place at the Georgetown Community Center from 9 a.m. – noon.

Other Events

The Dunbar Heritage Association, in partnership with the San Marcos Public Library, is organizing children’s activities on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The theme is "2020 Vision: Without a Vision the People Perish." The event will feature arts and crafts, including a story time hosted by San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson. 

In Austin, the LBJ Presidential Librarywill be open regular hours and offer free admission Monday.

Southwestern University is hosting numerous events that are free and open to the public. Visitors will have the option of listening to a panel about race, racism and its impact on college students, joining a multi-faith service in the Lois Perkins Chapel and hearing from keynote speaker, David Pilgrim, the founder and director of the Jim Crow Museum. Events will take place next week from Tuesday through Friday.

Dani Matias is a producer and host for KUT's Morning Edition. Before moving to Austin, she wrote breaking news for NPR and witnessed the Jonas Brothers’ Tiny Desk Concert in Washington, D.C.
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