One hundred fifth-graders from Watkins Elementary School in Capitol Hill will read aloud Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech this Friday at the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate his life for the 12th year in a row.
All D.C. Public Schools are closed for MLK Day next Monday, Jan. 18, so the event gives students, staff, parents, and others interested in the civil-rights activist’s legacy the opportunity to remember his work in a common forum. The National Park Service, which oversees the memorial and Mall, says “each student will read one line from the speech on the site where King delivered the speech during the 1963 March on Washington,” in an advisory for the reading.
Additionally, on MLK Day itself, Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s office will lead a commemorative parade beginning at 10 a.m. at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and going until noon. The facility is located at 2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., SE.
To prepare for Friday’s event and get a sense of what 100 students reciting “I Have a Dream” may be like, you can watch King’s original speech below and read a full transcript of it here. The gathering is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Update 3:42 p.m.: An NPS spokesperson tells City Desk in an email that while visitation for the event is typically “fairly light,” there may be a bigger crowd than usual this year in part due to the fact that the reading will take place on King’s actual birthday (Jan. 15); the students participate each year on the Friday closest to the official MLK Day.
Photo via U.S. government (public domain)