Archive for January 15, 2013

Martin Luther King Day Events in Downtown Indianapolis

January 15, 2013 2 comments
White River State Park

White River State Park. staff photo, (c) 2010, all rights reserved.

By Taylor Newell
Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.

Central Indiana residents will have the chance to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking advantage of special offerings in Downtown Indianapolis on the holiday. FREE admission to Downtown’s top attractions, appearances by local celebrities and more help make this year’s tribute to the iconic Civil Rights leader a fun, meaningful one for the entire family!

FREE admission to many Downtown attractions

Every year, one of the most popular options for Downtown visitors on MLK Day is the chance to visit some of Downtown’s top attractions at no charge.

White River State Park (see photo above): FREE admission to the following attractions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with donation of one non-perishable food item per person, per attraction for Gleaner’s Food Bank.

  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • IMAX Theater

Born To Be Wild” and “To The Arctic” shown for FREE until 5 p.m.

  • NCAA Hall of Champions

Former Butler basketball star Ronald Nored will lead storytime for kids from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • Indiana State Museum
  • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
  • Victory Field

FREE health screenings. Screening participants receive two FREE tickets to Opening Day at Victory Field April 4.

The Children’s Museum: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: FREE admission

Rhythm! Discovery Center: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Starting at 11 a.m., open discussion with Indy drummer Lawrence Clark III and performance with Clark, Gene Markiewicz and others.

Indiana Historical Society: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Special celebration including performances by Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Traci’s Urban Dance Jamm Studio and storyteller Deborah Asante, plus live stream of President Obama’s inauguration in the Basile Theatre and more.

Madame Walker presidential inauguration viewing plus annual breakfast, Freedom March

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holds a special significance this year as it coincides with the second inauguration of our nation’s first black president. Madame Walker Theatre Center will stream the inauguration ceremony live for FREE inside the historic 937-seat theatre as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Program at 11 a.m. Prior to the program, there will be a FREE community breakfast at the Indianapolis Urban League (777 Indiana Ave.) starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by a “Freedom Walk” back to the Madame Walker Theatre Center at 10:30 a.m. Visit for more information.

Dr. King Celebration at IPS Crispus Attucks Museum

From 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., IPS Crispus Attucks Museum visitors can experience the newly enhanced Civil Rights exhibit entitled “The Man and the Movement” and view the rarely-seen video documentary, “Legacy of King.” The museum will also host a live showing of President Obama’s inauguration with light refreshments.

“Day of Service” volunteer opportunity through IUPUI

Now in its twelfth year, the IUPUI Day of Service will gather hundreds of students, faculty and guests to volunteer in multiple capacities at various sites around Indianapolis as a tribute to Dr. King’s fervent commitment to social freedom and justice. This year’s theme is “BE RELENTLESS.” The event will run from 8 a.m. until roughly 1 p.m., and volunteers will meet at the IUPUI campus center for registration starting at 7:30 a.m. Registration is required by Jan. 15 and walk-ins may not participate due to the size of the event.

Volunteer at Indy Reads Books

Downtown’s newest used bookstore supporting adult literacy offers another way to give back on MLK Day. Adults and kids alike are invited to help organize shelves, stamp books and sort through donations from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mass Ave bookstore. Visit for more.

Harlem Globetrotters at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

The incredibly skillful, hilarious barnstorming basketball team comes to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on MLK Day for some afternoon family fun. The game tips off at 2 p.m. and tickets start at $25. Ever seen a 4-point shot in basketball? You just might…

Indiana Historical Society “Indiana Black History Challenge” kicks off

All Hoosiers are invited to participate in this special challenge for a chance to win Indians tickets, Pacers tickets to their home game against the Lakers, or a “Family Fun Pack” that includes an overnight stay at the JW Marriott, $50 to The Capital Grille, four tickets to both the Indiana State Museum and Children’s Museum and a household membership to the Indiana Historical Society. Contestants must answer all 10 questions correctly on a quiz about Hoosier African-American sports figures by Feb. 28. Each entrant will receive FREE admission to the Indiana Historical Society. The contest is only online this year and can be accessed at

Before Jan. 21:

Gary Brackett, Golden Singers Choir at FREE Indiana Statehouse event Jan. 17

Former Indianapolis Colt linebacker and Super Bowl Champion Gary Brackett will deliver the keynote address at the “Living in the footsteps of a king” program inside the Indiana Statehouse. The program will also feature the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, plus a performance by the Broad Ripple Magnet School Golden Singers Choir. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. and is FREE to attend, although space will be limited.

IUPUI 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Dinner Jan. 20

More than 600 IUPUI students, faculty and Indianapolis community members will gather at Indiana Roof Ballroom for a unique celebration that encompasses, in addition to honoring the legacy of Dr. King, a chance to network and engage in dialogue. The guest speaker this year will be Bobby Seale, a co-founder of the Black Panther Party in 1966. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 and costs $25 for IUPUI students, $65 for faculty and staff and $75 for the general community. Find more information at

For more information, visit, or call 317-237-2222.

Maya Angelou at Clowes Memorial Hall, Mar. 26

January 15, 2013 1 comment
Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou. Photo provided by Butler University and used with written permission.

By Marc Allan
Butler University

Maya Angelou, the first speaker in Butler University’s Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series, will reprise that role at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in Clowes Memorial Hall as part of the series’ 25th anniversary.

The event is free, but tickets are required. They will be available to the public beginning at 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at the Clowes Hall box office, 317-940-6444, and through Ticketmaster (fees apply).

Angelou, who inaugurated the diversity series in 1988, is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, she is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

“On Feb. 4, 1988, Maya Angelou graced the stage of Clowes Memorial Hall for the inaugural event of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series,” recalled Valerie Davidson, Butler’s director of diversity programs. “The capacity crowd was captivated by her warmth, stature, and eloquence. As the presenter, I was captivated to simply be in her presence.

“I cannot imagine a more appropriate way to celebrate the Diversity Lecture Series and our 25-year legacy of presenting distinctive voices to the Butler and greater Indianapolis community than to once again present the distinctive voice that began this phenomenal dialogue.”

Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Mo., Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Ark. In Stamps, Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.

As a teenager, Angelou’s love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook. However, her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage.

In 1954 and 1955, Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.

In 1960, Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.

During her years abroad, Angelou read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity.

Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X’s assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. asked Angelou to serve as northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King’s assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated.

With the guidance of her friend the novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was published in 1970 to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.

A trailblazer in film and television, Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African-American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley’s Roots (1977) and John Singleton’s Poetic Justice (1993). In 1996, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta. In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante.

Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received three Grammy Awards. President Clinton requested that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993. Angelou’s reading of her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” was broadcast live around the world.

Angelou has received more than 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.