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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. virtually or by safely visiting the locations where the civil rights leader created history.
Arlington Parks MLK Tribute
Arlington’s annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be virtual this year. Join online Sunday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m. for a free online event. From music and dance to spoken word and community dialogues, there will be something for everyone. Help carry on Dr. King’s legacy by remembering our history and joining this call to shape our future.
Volunteer Arlington Day of Service
2021 marks the 26th 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, Jan. 18). Volunteer your time and give back to these amazing local organizations.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Parade
The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Parade will take place virtually. This community tradition was started in 1979, six years before Dr. King’s birthday became a federal holiday. Register here to view the parade virtually and view last year’s celebratory events.
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. 18. 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.
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.
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.
Author: Cara O'Donnell