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Things to Do in the DC Area to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most important and influential figures in American history, and the entire country celebrates his birth on January 21 with parades, celebrations and community service initiatives. If you want to pay your respects to Martin Luther King Jr., here are some of the biggest things going on in the DC area.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Anacostia Park. Volunteer with the Student Conservation Association to do your part for local parks in honor of MLK Day. 

Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Pay your respects to Dr. King himself at his memorial statue on the National Mall. On January 21, there will be  National Park Service Rangers on site to answer any questions and share information about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Attend the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Head to MLK Avenue and Milwaukee Place starting at 10 a.m. for the official DC Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. The parade features the Ballou Marching Band and representatives from the area’s Asian, Bolivian, Jamaican, and African American communities, plus many of the city’s civil rights organizations. 

Go to a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center. Each year on MLK Day, the Kennedy Center hosts a concert in honor of Dr. King’s memory. This year’s free concert will be called "Let Freedom Ring" and it will begin at 6 p.m. The concert will feature Grammy-winning singer Audra McDonald and Tony-winning artist Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Visit the place where Dr. King gave his famous speech. Head over to the Lincoln Memorial to see the steps where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech. There’s no better way to honor this great man than by taking a moment to consider his words and their greater meaning. 

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