A new festival at Woodmere Art Museum celebrates MLK’s legacy

Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill hosted its first-ever Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Festival in honor of the civil rights leader whose legacy continues to inspire the fight for equality.

More than 550 families came out to enjoy making crafts, hear stories and poems, view art and even dance in honor of Dr. King.

One of the highlights of the festival was a high-energy performance by professional break dance crew Hip Hop Fundamentals. The group showed off impressive dance skills and shared some history of hip-hop as a movement that connects to the struggle for civil rights.

Other activities included making colorful commemorative over-sized stamps of civil rights leaders like Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Harriet Tubman and President Barack Obama.

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Philly Children’s March volunteers organized a letter-writing campaign to the city’s new mayor, Jim Kenney. Children, with the help of their parents, wrote to Kenney about issues they would like to see him address while in office.

Throughout the museum, storytellers shared accounts of key moments in the civil rights movement, like lunch counter sit-ins and spoke of a time when segregation was an everyday occurrence.

Attendees also took in the We Speak: Black Artists of Philadelphia exhibit that runs until Jan. 24.

For many, this was their first visit to the museum.

Such was the case for Kristin Anderson, a teacher at the Frederick Douglass Mastery Charter School, who came with her two daughters. Both the festival and the museum impressed her, she shared. Anderson says she plans on volunteering for the event next year and hopes to help make the storytelling portion more interactive for younger children.

“The foundation the museum provided is really awesome,” she enthused.

It was also a first time visit for Constance Ratliff, who came with her daughter, grandson and a close family friend. Finding a family-friendly event to celebrate the holiday together was very important to her, she said.

“This was a great idea. We’ll be back again.” she said.

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