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Page updated Jan 14, 2015 5:15 PM

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration 2015

This year's program and student exhibition commemorate the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery.

Program Sponsors

  • The Alexandria Society for the Preservation of Black Heritage, Inc. 
  • The Alexandria Black History Museum 
  • The Alexandria Office of the Arts 
  • The Alexandria City Public Schools Art Teachers
  • The Office of Equity and Cultural Competency

Poster: Help the Community, by Kennadi Norman

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits…

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, December 10, 1964


Who is Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta Georgia. He attended Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary and Boston University. He received his Ph.D. in 1953. In Boston, Dr. King met Coretta Scott whom he married on June 18, 1953. Dr. They had four children, two girls and two boys.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, Martin Luther King, Jr. became a minister. In 1954, he became pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a well-respected civil rights organization.

Dr. King was determined to end the discrimination faced by African Americans. As a result of racial segregation, African Americans in many parts of the United States could not be educated, eat, shop or use the same facilities that whites could. Dr. King and many other Americans, both black and white, risked their lives to end this inequality. Dr. King organized boycotts, marches and other forms of peaceful and non-violent protests to help African Americans gain equality. In 1957, Dr. King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to promote the civil rights movement.

In 1963, Dr. King was named Man of Year by Time Magazine. In 1964, he became the youngest man (at 35) to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. His legacy lives on in his speeches and in the many people, all over the world, who work to make their communities a better place.

There is so much more to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Commemorative Program:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Poster Exhibition

The 2015 Theme is "The Journey to be Free: Alexandria's Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial."

  • Program: 1:00 - 2:15 pm in Council Chambers
  • Reception: 2:15-3:00 pm in Vola Lawson Library

    Teaching about Martin Luther King, JR.

    The following resources are recommended for Alexandria City Public School teachers, in preparing classes on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.



    • Martin's Big Words, by Dorreen Rappaport
    • A Picture Book of MLK, by David Adler
    • The Story of MLK, by Johnny Ray Moore
    • If You lived at the Time of Martin Luther King, by P. Odik Levine

    If you have suggestions for other additions to this page, please contact the Alexandria Black History Museum or call the Museum at 703.746.4706. 

    Student Poster Exhibition: "The Journey to be Free: Alexandria's Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial"

    The Alexandria Society for the Preservation of Black Heritage, Inc. and the Alexandria Black History Museum are sponsoring a Student Poster Exhibition for Alexandria City Public School students, Grades 2-5.