News & Politics

Events Around DC Commemorating MLK

A march to Ben's Chili Bowl, a revival of Dr. King's last Sunday sermon, and more

Photo by Flickr user Daniel Lobo

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Here’s a sampling of the events, ceremonies, and exhibitions being held in the late reverend’s honor.

People’s March for Justice, Equality, and Peace

Starts at Georgia Ave. and Howard Place, NW; ends at 1213 U St., NW

Ben’s Chili Bowl—the only business on the U Street corridor allowed to stay open past the curfew imposed during the post-MLK-assassination riots—is hosting a march that leaves from Howard University at 5:30, followed by a candlelight vigil in Dr. King’s honor at the restaurant.

Display of Jack Lewis Hiller’s Photograph of Martin Luther King

8th and F Streets, NW

The National Portrait Gallery is unveiling a photo taken of Dr. King in November 1960, shortly after he was released from a Georgia prison for taking part in a sit-in protest in Atlanta. Hiller, a white history teacher in Fairfax County, snapped the photo of Dr. King during a segregated teachers association meeting in Richmond. The photo will be on display Wednesday through April 30 in the building’s first-floor gallery.

Commemorating Martin Luther King’s Last Sunday Sermon

3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Four days before he was killed, Dr. King delivered a sermon—Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution—at the Washington National Cathedral. To celebrate his legacy, the church will re-broadcast it Wednesday at 5:30 pm, and then toll its memorial bell 39 times (one for each year Dr. King was alive) in unison with the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis—which lies on the site Dr. King was slain. Then on Sunday at 11:15 am, the Cathedral will hold a special sermon with music and prayers from Dr. King’s 1960 speech.

Candlelight Vigil at the Martin Luther King Memorial

1964 Independence Ave., SW

Members of the Memorial Foundation, the group that helped build the 30-foot statue of Dr. King dedicated in 2011, will host an honorary vigil Wednesday at 6:30 pm, along with students from Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts. The New Samaritan Baptist Church choir will perform, and there will be a spoken-word performance by the R Street Collective.

“Putting DC in Context”

DC Public Libraries

In honor of Dr. King’s death and to shed light on the ensuing riots, the DC Public Library system curated a “a playlist of documentaries and films that connect residents to the city’s past,” according to a press release. Documentaries such as I Am Not Your Negro about novelist James Baldwin and The Nine Lives of Marion Barry will be available to stream free to any library card holders. Titles are available here.

Jackson Knapp
Assistant Editor