Arlington's 51st Tribute to MLK - "Prayers o

Published on January 10, 2020

Arlington will celebrate Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's life and legacy on Sunday, January 19, 5-6:30 p.m. at Wakefield High School with a tribute in music, dance and spoken word. 

"Most people know the story of desegregation in the United States, but too few know the true story of integration here in Arlington. Arlington was the first county in Virginia to desegregate, and ultimately, landed on the right side of history. But the journey to integration was not a straight line," Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. 

At 8:45 a.m. on February 2, 1959, four young students from the Arlington's Halls Hill neighborhood entered Stratford Junior High School and became the first students to desegregate a public school in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The 2020 MLK Tribute program focuses on their journey; when they learn they will be the first African Americans to integrate a school in Virginia and into their first day of school, while simultaneously following Dr. King's fight for equality during the same time period. 

The program brings together spoken word artist Kim B. Miller, performing her original work, "Your Calling;" Kim Gordon performing an original song "The Wall Between Us," written by Anne Smith, as well as "Changed" by Tramaine Hawkins. The Four will perform "Is My Living in Vain" by the Clark Sisters; and Kailah Doles will perform a solo dance to "If I Could" by Regina Belle.  

About the Program 

Arlington's first tribute to Dr. King was in 1968, after his assassination. The goal of this program is to bring people together to support the community's vision of social justice and community. This year's program is produced in partnership with Encore Stage & Studio and directed by Madaline Y. Langston. The script was developed by Arlington resident Anne Smith with scenes from Encore's original piece "The Day Nothing Happened." 

Free admission 

The event is free and open to the public. Guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Overflow space with a live stream of the program will be available should the auditorium reach capacity. Guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable goods to donate to Arlington Food Assistance Center 

Day of Service 

On Monday, January 20, from 8:30 a.m.-noon at Washington-Liberty High School, Volunteer Arlington will host its third annual Arlington-wide MLK Day of Service. Volunteer opportunities include service projects and volunteer training with local non-profit organizations. The event is free; registration is required. Visit for more information and to register. 

Learn more about the 2020 MLK Tribute event at or call 703-228-3329.