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Honor Dr. King's Legacy in the Capital Region

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the embodiment of America's civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968, and his history in the U.S. capital region is legendary. After all, the 1963 March on Washington drew more than 200,000 people to the National Mall for King’s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, emphasizing his belief that someday all men could be brothers. Each January, the nation pauses to celebrate King’s life and work.

This year, honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by visiting the locations where the civil rights leader created history.

A family stands in front of the MLK Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial (georgetteisphere-IG)

Arlington, Virginia

Arlington Parks MLK Tribute

The 2023 MLK Tribute will be held on Sun., Jan. 15, 5-6:30 p.m. in the Washington-Liberty High School (1301 N Stafford St. Arlington, VA, 22201) and will focus on Dr. King’s visit to Arlington before the March on Washington in 1963, as well as the preparation for the March and Arlington’s connection to it. Encore Stage & Studio, under the direction of Madaline Y. Langston, will produce the program.

Volunteer Arlington Day of Service

2022 marks the 27th anniversary of the day of service, celebrating the Civil Rights leader’s legacy with “a day on, not a day off." Volunteer Arlington offers many ways to connect and serve on this National Day of Service (Monday, January 17th, 2022). Volunteer your time and give back to these amazing local organizations.

Washington, D.C.

16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday DC Peace Walk

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Peace Walk is held annually on the federal MLK holiday. It is coordinated by the Coalition for Peace, a group of individuals and non-profits dedicated to peace and positivity for the Washington DC metropolitan communities. In addition to the Peace Walk, this year's event will also feature a Community Clean Up and a Wellness Fair. For event registration and further event information, please visit their website here.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture tells the complex story of perseverance and achievement of African Americans. Although the museum is temporarily closed, its annual community program, “A People’s Holiday," will take place virtually on Monday, Jan. 17. The digital performance features six-time GRAMMY Award-winner Christian McBride, Evie Shockley, Sonia Sanchez, and Julliard student performers. The conference will be followed by a conversation with McBride, moderated by NMAAHC’s Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, Dwandalyn Reece.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture and Washington Monument reflected in a pool of water.
Smithsonian NMAAHC via greg.tourino-IG

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library 

After a three-and-a-half-year renovation, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library re-opened in November 2020. The library is currently open for limited takeout service, but anyone can see and explore the library from the comfort of their own home with the library's 360-degree virtual tour. The tour highlights the library’s iconic artwork, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Mural and the grand reading-room ceiling designed by Xenobia Bailey. To learn more, read this Washington Post article detailing the MLK Library's transformation and its importance to D.C.

Looking down at the layered, circular pattern of the staircase at MLK Jr. Memorial Library.
MLK Jr. Memorial Library stairs via theinterstellarstudio-IG

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial

Anyone can visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall. Located in West Potomac Park off Independence Avenue near the western side of the Tidal Basin, the memorial is best accessible to visitors from Arlington by taking the Metro (Orange/Blue/Silver lines) to the Smithsonian station. The memorial itself covers four acres and includes the Stone of Hope, a granite statue of the civil rights movement leader carved by sculptor Lei Yixin.

A person casts a shadow at sunset near the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial via tinatin_kalandadze_dunphy-IG

Author: Cara O'Donnell