Martin Luther King Birthday Celebration Kicks off January Schedule at Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

January 12, 2018
News Release

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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will celebrate Martin Luther King Day with live music, a film screening and interactive activities for guests and museum visitors.

Monday, Jan. 15, the museum will commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a community day: “The People’s Holiday-A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.” Enjoy live music inspired by King’s from The House Band in Heritage Hall, and make a memorial button or flag based on objects in the museum’s collections. There also will be supplies available to make scarfs, which guests can keep or donate to those in need. The museum’s Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) will screen the 1970 documentary, “King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis” from 2–6 p.m. in the Oprah Winfrey Theater. The film features primary footage including the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and King’s assassination in 1968. Celebrity narrators Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, Clarence Williams III, and Joanne Woodward accompany original news footage that captured historic moments of protest. The people’s holiday events are free, but registration is required at

Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 7–9 p.m., Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele, co-authors of When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, will discuss their book and the motivating factors that led to the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement with award-winning journalist Michel Martin of National Public Radio. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. The event will take place in the Oprah Winfrey Theater. Tickets are free, but guests should register in advance through

The January programs will conclude Friday, Jan. 26, from 6:45-9:45 p.m. with a social justice conversation and participatory program on race, identity and civil rights policy since the 1950s, “A Seat at the Table with Civil Rights Advocates.” Civil Rights advocates Constance Rice, co-founder and co-director of the Advancement Project in Los Angeles, and Maya Wiley, founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion, will be joined by moderator Julianne Malveaux, labor economist and noted author, in a conversation exploring issues of contemporary importance linked to systematic racism, social inequity and the black community. The audience is encouraged to join in the discussion. Tickets are available for purchase through

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture                  

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened Sept. 24, 2016, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument, the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

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