"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said.
Dr. Noelle Trent, director of interpretation, collections, and education at the National Civil Rights Museum and the project leader for the museum's annual King Day celebration this Monday, says that this was one thing King told fellow citizens to encourage them to activate themselves in society.
"Being silent on an issue means that you're being complicit," she says. "The idea [of this event] is that people can go to the museum and see regular folks making some very basic decisions about their lives and making some sacrifices. It's something that helps move the movement forward. And that was what Dr. King encouraged people to do."
- National Civil Rights Museum
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Vitalant (formerly Lifeblood) and the Mid-South Food Bank will be on site to encourage attendees to give back. In addition to receiving free entry to the museum during the event thanks to FedEx, guests who donate nonperishable foods will receive a $2 coupon toward admission on any future visit to the museum this year, and guests who donate blood will receive free admission for four people (in exchange for the four people a pint of blood could help) on any day in 2020.
"We're offering people reasonable ways to engage with Dr. King's story and the story of the movement, but also to do good for the medical community," says Trent.
To help celebrate King's life and legacy, entertainment will be provided by the Soulsville Charter School choir, Karen Brown, and more; and kids will be able to partake in face painting and balloons.
"We're celebrating who he is and what he means to us," says Trent. "This is not a somber moment."
King Day, National Civil Rights Museum, Monday, January 20th, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., free.