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It Starts with Me: Celebrating MLK Week 2024 with an image of the MLK Mural at the MLK Library

Carry on the legacy of Dr. King's activism with DC Public Library's celebration of MLK Week, It Starts with Me. In 1957, Dr. King said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?" He knew that to move toward equality, we would all have to consider our role in the work. During MLK Week 2024, DC Public Library locations across the city are honoring the voices, past and present that embody the phrase It Starts With Me. Join us for compelling discussions, check out engaging reads and immerse yourself in the history of activism right here in D.C. as we celebrate 50 years of Home Rule all with your DC Public Library card. 

Upcoming Events

David Johns

The Public Square: David Johns

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

Educator, policy wonk, CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition–the nation’s oldest civil rights organization dedicated to the twin goals of racial equity and LGBTQ+ equality–and self-described disruptor-in-chief Dr. David J. Johns will be in conversation with educator and author Dr. Chris Emdin. Together, they will unpack the importance of centering intersectionality in pursuing social justice, racial equity, and inclusive democracy, specifically the unique and often overlooked experiences of Black queer, transgender, and gender-expansive public middle and high school students in the United States.  

Dancing in the Darkness


Lecture by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III on the Life of MLK

Thursday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

Join us during MLK Week for a lecture by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III. Using his book, Dancing in the Darkness, Dr. Moss will discuss the significant events and experiences from Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood and youth that shaped his perspectives and propelled Dr. King to become a civil rights leader and social justice advocate. Dr. Moss will be joined in conversation by Rev. Thomas Bowen, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs and the Director of the Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks Documentary

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks Documentary Screening and Discussion

Sunday, Jan. 14, 1 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

Enjoy a very special movie screening and conversation, moderated by Executive Producer Soledad O’Brien. “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” based on the bestselling biography by Jeanne Theoharis, corrects the record on Rosa Parks’ often-overlooked accomplishments and the erasure of her radical politics. In short, what we are taught in school about Rosa Parks is a mere fraction of the full story about who she truly was. 

Child holding books at the library


It Starts with Me! A Beyond the Book Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, Jan. 15, 1 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as area musical performers, spoken word artists and activities. Bring your family as we fill the central library for an unforgettable day of celebration and reflection.


Barracoon with Ibram X. Kendi

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

MahoganyBooks, DC Public Library and the DC Public Library Foundation are thrilled to host #1 New York Times bestselling author and scholar Ibram X. Kendi as he discusses his adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's Barracoon for young readers. We encourage families to bring any young people in their life to this monumental event, highlighting important Black American history. 

See All Upcoming MLK Week Events at a Library Near You

Books for Kids and Families

Books for Teens

Books for Adults

Research and Learn

Black Freedom Struggle in the United States

Learn more about the foundation of ongoing racial injustice in the U.S. – and the fights against it.

Fight for Racial Justice and the Civil Rights Congress

Search over 56,000 pages of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) involvement in notable civil rights and civil liberties issues such as Willie McGee, the Trenton Six, Martinsville Seven and many others.

Ralph J. Bunche Oral Histories Collection on the Civil Rights Movement

Search over 700 transcriptions of interviews of individuals who made history in the struggles for voting rights, against discrimination in housing, for the desegregation of the schools, to expose racism in hiring, in defiance of police brutality, and to address poverty in the African American communities.

D.C. Last Colony: Voting Rights and Home Rule

Explore the history of voting rights right here in the District in this DigDC collection featuring historic photos, political posters, pamphlets, sample ballots, political cartoons and more.

Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence Artifact Collection

The Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence Artifact Collection consists of posters, banners, clothing, photographs, and ephemeral objects attached to the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence (BLM Fence) surrounding Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C, from June 2020 to January 2021.

History of the March on Washington

This collection is comprised of photographs, oral history interviews and transcripts, and newspapers from DC Public Library's digitized holdings that document various elements of the March on Washington.

On Exhibit

Up from the People

Up from the People

Explore Up from the People: Protest and Change in D.C., the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s permanent exhibit. It is located outside The
We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist D.C.

We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist D.C.

Presented as part of a groundbreaking partnership between DC Public Library and the National Women’s History Museum, We Who Believe in Freedom: Black

Related Reads

60th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington which took place on Aug. 28, 1963, at the March on Washington. Check out recommended titles, stream documentaries and research both local and national history related to this landmark moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

Crowd gathering at Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington

50 Years of Home Rule

On Dec. 24, 2023, D.C. celebrates 50 years of Home Rule The Home Rule Act, passed by Congress on December 24, 1973, devolved select congressional powers to reorganize the governmental structure of Washington, D.C.; provided a charter for local governance, including the election of a mayor and city council; and delegated certain legislative powers to the local government. The significance of this anniversary is all the more compelling when you consider that governance of the District of Columbia was controlled by Congress for 183 years, from our city’s founding on July 16, 1790 until Christmas Eve, 1973. The Home Rule Act was an important, long-overdue step towards granting DC residents the same democratic rights as citizens of all fifty states.

WUL Prep students at a home rule rally