Reflect and inspire: MLK Day and Black Heritage Festival events 

Parades, performances and inspirational activities that pay homage to the late great civil rights leader.

Commemorate and celebrate with the following parades, performances and inspirational activities that pay homage to the late great civil rights leader.

5K Walk for Health The fitness event emphasizes healthy living and is dedicated to the memory of Felecia Wintons-Taylor, a founding member of the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival; registration starts at Sat., Jan. 19, 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 8:45 a.m. at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa.

Battle of the Bands and Drum Line Extravaganza The beat goes on Sun., Jan. 20, 4 p.m. Tropicana Field, 1 Stadium Drive, St. Petersburg. Buy tickets through Ticketmaster, the Tropicana Field box office, Looking Good Men’s Fashion stores in St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Tampa, the Enoch Davis Center and Norvell Quick Market in St. Petersburg. $10 advance, $12 at the gate, $15 VIP. 727-388-9494.

The 13th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival The 13th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival returns Jan. 17-26. The 10-day enriching celebration includes: a Living History Art Exhibit featuring pioneer civil rights leaders Harry and Harriette Moore; annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade; a special film screening at Tampa Theatre; empowerment seminars and more. On Fri., attend the Heritage Gala at the Straz Center, featuring Stogie Kenyetta as Paul Robeson, followed by Steppers Ball, Ballroom & Bop. The two-day street festival Saturday and Sunday is the centerpiece of the Heritage Festival featuring Old School Saturday with musical entertainment from Klymaxx. On Sun., 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m., celebrate Gospel-Jazz Sunday with saxophonist Eric Darius. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N. Ashley St, Tampa. 1-888-224-1733.

Business Expo Diverse opportunites celebrated in honor of MLK on Mon., Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. Belmont Heights Little League Park, 2101 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Tampa. 813-248-3977.

MLK Concerts at Bok Tower Gardens The bells of Florida’s most majestic carillon chime sonorously in honor of the civil rights leader at 1 and 3 p.m. on Mon., Jan. 21. 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. 863-676-1408.

Conversations with Dali: Eric Deggans Listen to a discussion on racial divisions reflected in the media. Host Dr. Carol Mickett gains insight from and the Tampa Bay Times television critic, NPR pundit and author of Race Baiter. Thurs., Jan. 31, 6:30-7:45 p.m. Dali Museum, St. Petersburg.

Harriet Tubman: The Chosen One Emmy winner Gwendolyn Briley-Strand performs at each of Pasco-Hernando Community college campuses in honor of the 100th anniversary of Tubman’s death. Free. Jan. 16-17; call 877-879-7422 for times and locations.

Heritage Living History Exhibit Reception will feature civil rights activists Harry and Harriette Moore. 7 p.m. on Tues., Jan. 22, at The Kotler Art Gallery in the John F. Germany Public Library, 900 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute, Freedom Riders David and Winonah Myers, and Eckerd College music professor Joan Epstein lead a panel discussion. The program also includes a special tribute to Eugene Patterson, recipient of the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for his editorials urging southerners to accept equality among the races. Free. Mon., Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. Lewis House on the Eckerd College Campus, 4200 54th Ave S, St. Petersburg. 727-864-8220.

The King and I Music and Lecture Series: Gospel Music Fest Free. Fri., Jan. 18, at 7 p.m., and Sat., Jan. 19, at 9 a.m. Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 955 20th St. S, St. Petersburg. 727-866-9436.

Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Awards Banquet Pastor and vocalist Wintley Phipps is keynote speaker, and gospel singer Derek Smith performs. $40. Fri., Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg. 727-388-9494.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade-Tampa Civic groups, marching bands and floats commemorate. Mon., Jan. 21, at noon. Starts at 15th Street and MLK Boulevard and travels east to 22nd Street and then north, ending at Osborne

Martin Luther King Day of Service Join the local movement of people who choose to serve on Jan. 21, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day instead of just taking a day off. With support from the Florida legislature, St. Petersburg College is collaborating with an advisory committee of local citizens to encourage people of all ages to step up and serve in our community. Register at

National Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Parade Starts at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. and Third Avenue South, St. Petersburg, and heads north to Central Avenue, east to Bayshore Drive, and north to Fifth Ave. N., ending at Vinoy Park. Mon., Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. 727-388-9494.

No Name Calling Week Beginning on Jan. 21 the Glazer Children’s Museum presents activities aimed at ending ridicule and bullying in honor of Dr. King’s legacy of compassion and respect. Story times and crafts will be featured. Jan. 21-25.

Ruby C. Williams — Farming, Family & Folk Art The vibrant exhibit in Gallery 221@HCC displays works of folk art communities that artist Ruby C. Williams has cultivated throughout her 80-plus years. One wall presents a three dimensional choir of life-size painted characters inspired by Williams‘ broader community. The land that Williams’ lives and works on in Bealsville, Fla., was founded by her family, and four other families of freed slaves in the late 1800s. Influenced by this and other regional historic legacies, Williams became a known folk artist in central Florida and throughout the southeast, selling her works at a market in her front yard. She was also part of a traveling folk art show featured at the Smithsonian. An Artist Talk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 17 followed by opening reception; features Williams, City of Tampa Art Programs Division Manager Robin Nigh and Gallery 221 Director Kathy Gibson. On display through Feb. 28;

Soul Roll Invitational Time to lace up your quads or inlines and get skating for the Soul Roll Invitational. An annual Martin Luther King Jr. anniversary event, the Soul Roll Invitational — also known as iRoll — is a weekend-long celebration people (can we coin the term skatophiles?) travel from all over the U.S. and beyond to attend. Activities, including the Soul Roll Invitational Inaugural Steppers Ball at the Straz on Friday evening and various skate and musical performances scheduled throughout the weekend, culminate in two main skating bashes. Saturday’s soiree, Let’s Goooo Party, features South Jersey’s DJ Jammin’ and DJ Tone of Chicago will spin funky, soulful beats for the Black Girls ROCK Party on Sunday. So if you can shake your rump without busting your ass, strap on some wheels and head out for two evenings of boogying down and skating around. If you’re not feeling brave into to get into the rink, spectators are welcome. Inaugural Steppers Ball is on Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m., Straz Theater, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, $12 and up. Let’s Goooo and Black Girls ROCK parties, Jan. 19-20, 11 p.m. and 10 p.m. respectively at Town & Country Skateworld, 7510 Paula Drive, Tampa, $12 per night.,
—Shae Krispinsky

An Evening with Zora Neale Hurston Performed by renowned wordsmith and scholar Phyllis McEwen. Free. Tues., Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. 727-298-3080.


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