Martin Luther King Day in the Catskills

Photo of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. taken in 1964 by World Telegram & Sun photographer Dick DeMarsico; courtesy of the Library of Congress and Wikimedia Commons.

If you're looking to spend Martin Luther King Day reflecting on justice in America and the meaning of the holiday, there are a few local events happening that fit the bill. (If you're looking to spend it skiing, we've got you covered there too: It's shaping up to be an epic long weekend on Catskills slopes.) 

A bit of little-known Catskills history: Dr. King spoke in the Catskills just ten days before he was slain in Memphis, Tennessee. On March 25, 1968, King addressed an audience of conservative rabbis at the Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake. Sullivan County historian John Conway gives an account of the evening, at which King was greeted with a chorus of "We Shall Overcome" sung in Hebrew.


On Saturday, Jan. 14, UlsterCorps is throwing a party in Rosendale to celebrate all volunteers in Ulster County. The party is free, and will feature raffles, refreshments and live music by the Dave Ross Mason Band, Blind Mice, and the New Progressive Baptist Church Choir. Throughout the week, they're also featuring a few local volunteer opportunities; on Monday, you can stop by the Rosendale Food Pantry to find out how you can help. Saturday, Jan. 14, 2-5pm. Rosendale Recreation Center, 1055 Rt. 32, Rosendale. Snow date: Monday, Jan. 16.


The Town of Woodstock is co-sponsoring this annual tribute to the civil rights leader's birthday. This year, the lineup includes the Rev. G. Modele Clarke of the New Progressive Baptist Church in Kingston, Pam Africa of the International Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Journey Blue Heaven and the Woodstockers Experience, Miss "G" (Abbe Sue Graber), and Debra Burger. Sunday, Jan. 15, 2pm. Mescal Hornbeck Community Center, 56 Rock City Road, Woodstock. For more info, call 845-679-7320.


Just down the road, the Bearsville Theater is hosting a free event featuring a packed slate of writers, musicians and activists. Among the local voices that will be lifted up: acclaimed poet Cheryl Clarke of Hobart, local author and children's musician Robert Burke Warren, and the unforgettable TMI Project. Proceeds from fundraising at the event will go to the NY Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley, and Riverkeeper. Sunday, Jan. 15, 2pm. Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St., Woodstock.


If you're "committed to letting freedom ring and keeping the dream alive," you're invited to share food, stories and inspiration at the Grange in the little Delaware County hamlet of Halcottsville. Bring a dish to pass, or just yourself. Sunday, Jan. 15, 2-3:30pm. Main Street, Halcottsville.

Know of an event we've missed? Let us know with a comment and we'll add it to the post, or you can email us at