Clergyman, activist, and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) had strong ties with Chicago. He helped launch a campaign called the Chicago Freedom Movement to create opportunities and improve living conditions in minority neighborhoods. He also brought national attention to the need for housing reform by moving his own young family to the depressed west side in 1966. He was deeply mourned by Chicagoans after his assassination two years later.
Listed below are parks, facilities and artworks within the Chicago Parka District that are dedicated to Dr. King. We encourage you to learn more about him and honor his great legacy by visiting one of these sites.
Note: Some fieldhouses/park buildings are open with reduced hours/schedules on Martin Luther King Day. View hours.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial Sculpture
Marquette (Jacques) Park | Southwest Corner of S. Kedzie Ave. & W. Marquette Rd.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial was dedicated on August 5, 2016 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s historic march through Marquette Park. Produced by artists Sonja Henderson and John Pittman, the artwork is composed of an oval-shaped plaza with three carved brick rectangular obelisks and a low seating wall.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and Family Entertainment Center
1200 W. 77th St.
Located in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and Family Entertainment Center features a roller-skating rink, bowling alley and two major artworks that honor Dr. King. Sculpted by artist Tina Allen, a bronze portrait bust of Dr. King is located in front of the recreational center. Inside the building, a multi-paneled mural entitled We March, We Dance, We Sing for Freedom, stretches across the wall of the rolling rink. The vibrant mural was designed and produced by artists Damon Lamar Reed and Juan Carlos Perez, and a group of twelve teenagers.
Learn more about the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bust
Learn more about the We March, We Dance, We Sing for Freedom mural:
Learn more about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Entertainment Center:
Renaissance Park Sculptural Fountain
Renaissance Park | 1300 W. 79th St.
The centerpiece of the 1.25 acres Renaissance Park is a sculptural fountain produced by artist Jerzy Kenar. The artwork symbolizes the strength and energy of the residents of the surrounding neighborhood as well as the African American community in general. A pyramidal pile of black granite spheres represents significant African American figures who have made important contributions to music, literature, sports, politics, and social change. The names of eleven significant individuals such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harold Washington, and Maya Angelou are incised into the stone.
Barrett (Charles) Park | 2022 W Cermak Rd
This vibrant mural occupies a wall bordering the playground of Barrett Park, located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago’s Lower West Side. The mural was created by artist Jesus Chucho Rodriguez and a group of After School Matters students
Entitled Libertad (the Spanish word for freedom), the painting was designed to bring color, strength, and life to the park. The teen artists selected the theme of inspiring leaders, activists, and artists, including Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Ghandi, Frida Kahlo, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Emiliano Zapata.