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Martin Luther King Jr. Day might be the nation’s first day off after the winter holiday season, but D.C.’s arts centers will be far from quiet. Today, the Folger Shakespeare Library reminds us that it’s not “Just Another Day Off”; that’s the name of its free event that starts at 11 a.m., featuring dramatic presentations of protest-themed poetry and speeches. Elsewhere, the American History Museum will wrap up a weekend of memorial events with actor Xavier Carnegie, who will perform excerpts from MLK’s best-known speeches and sermons throughout the day in the Flag Hall. In Bethesda, Strathmore has a 4 p.m. concert of Negro spirituals and civil rights-era music performed by high school students; the Washington National Cathedral (the location of King’s final Sunday sermon before he was assassinated in 1968) will hold its annual concert at 2 p.m.; and that evening, the Kennedy Center is putting on “Let Freedom Ring,” a free concert with Bobby McFerrin and a gospel choir that will take listeners to church. But let’s not forget the still-new and still-controversial memorial to the civil rights leader off the Tidal Basin: The National Park Service plans to lay a wreath and provide educational programs at the site throughout the day.
“Not Just Another Day Off” begins at 11 a.m. at the Folger Haskell Center, 301 E. Capitol St. SE. folger.edu. (202) 544-4600. Xavier Carnegie performs at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. at the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. americanhistory.si.edu. (202) 633-1000. The Montgomery County Dr. King celebration begins at 4 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. strathmore.org. (301) 581-5100. “King in Our Midst” begins at 2 p.m. at the Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue NW. nationalcathedral.org. (202) 537-6200. “Let Freedom Ring” begins at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. kennedy-center.org. (202) 467-4600. Events at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial occur throughout the day. nps.gov. (202) 426-6841.