There are several events scheduled for Jan. 15, which was Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. (Photo: Phil Stanziola, MGNOnline)

Area residents have several options for commemorating the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Jan. 15 federal holiday honors the civil rights activist who was born on that day. The holiday is commemorated the third Monday in January and was first celebrated in 1986.

50 projects
This year marks 50 years since the assassination of King, and the city has organized 50 projects in memory of his legacy.

“Completing 50 service projects across Chattanooga is a great way to begin 2018 and sets an example of how we can extend Dr. King’s message and teachings throughout the year,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said in a prepared statement. “Our work on Monday is just one more way that we are breaking down barriers and improving the lives of our neighbors and our community.” 

Volunteers will gather at Chamberlain Pavilion at UTC for the kickoff and then disperse into neighborhoods to work on landscaping, trail maintenance, deep cleaning, building repairs and other community projects.

This year’s service projects include not only beautification but also education and outreach, according to a news release. Volunteers will canvass multiple apartments and homes to equip Chattanooga residents with information on their rights under fair housing law.

Shortly after the assassination of King, the 1968 Fair Housing Act became law. It prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and family status, and protects citizens from discrimination when renting, buying, looking for a house or acquiring a mortgage.

Area residents can also benefit from services such as résumé checks, wheelchair cleanings and voter registration.

Click here for more information about the résumé checks.

Wheelchair cleaning stations will be available at Patten Towers from 9 to 11 a.m. and at Whiteside Faith Manor from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Voter registration help will be from 8 to 9 a.m. at The Bethlehem Center, Brainerd Youth and Family Development Center and Orchard Knob Baptist Church.

Click here for more information, including how to donate or register to volunteer.

Music, dance, spoken word
There’s a Martin Luther King Jr. Day tribute planned at UTC’s Roland Hayes Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public, and will include music, dance and spoken word.

The event gives the performing artists “a way to express what Dr. King and his beliefs meant to them,” Student Development Executive Director Mo Baptiste said. “The arts are a wonderful way to express those feelings.”

Click here for more information.

Point Park
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park officials are waiving the Point Park entrance fee on MLK Jr. Day.

“This would be a great opportunity to visit and contemplate the reasons soldiers struggled along the mountain slopes during the Battle Above the Clouds in 1863 and why, 100 years later, in 1963, Dr. King reminded us to ‘let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee,'” officials said in a news release.