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The Folger Spotlight

ENCORES: ‘Not Just Another Day Off’ (2018)

Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness
Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness

Folger Public Programs is pleased to present ENCORES, a weekly online series highlighting past performances and recalling the rich history of programming on the historic Folger stage. As many arts and cultural institutions remain closed during this time, these ENCORES provide a way to connect and revisit the breadth of Folger offerings with a wider audience.

ENCORES presents

O.B. Hardison Poetry Series
Not Just Another Day Off: An Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , January 2018
with James Johnson, Lauren K. Alleyne, and Jericho Brown
Learn more about this year’s Not Just Another Day Off on Monday, January 18, 2021

James Johnson read

  • An excerpt from “I Have a Dream,” delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963

Lauren K. Alleyne read

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Mourns Trayvon Martin
  • Heaven?
  • Elegy

Jericho Brown read

  • Bullet Points
  • Stand

Poems from The Mighty Stream: Poems in Celebration of Martin Luther King, edited by Carolyn Forché and Jackie Kay, published by Bloodaxe Books, 2017. 

You can re-visit the 2019 reading on Soundcloud. Click here for a curated reading list related to this year’s program.

Read the introduction by poet Carolyn Forché:

Hello and welcome to Folger ENCORES! I’m Carolyn Forché and I am happy to be able to speak with you today. The Folger has been sharing selections from their plays, music and readings with you in this ENCORES series.

This week, we’re revisiting the annual reading series, Not Just Another Day Off, celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King through poetry and oratory. This selection comes from our 2018 reading, subtitled On Civil Disobedience. The event featured poets Jericho Brown, Mark McMorris, and Lauren Alleyne reading from the poetry collection The Mighty Stream: Poems in Celebration of Martin Luther King, which I had the pleasure of editing, along with Jackie Kay, then Makar of Scotland—which is the equivalent of our Poet Laureate. The work of these poets was interspersed with actors reading the speeches of Dr. King.

When he was awarded an honorary degree in Civil Law at Newcastle University in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “There are three urgent, and indeed great, problems that we face today: the problem of racism, the problem of poverty, and the problem of war.” This anthology gathers poets from both sides of the Atlantic to address, 50 years later, the challenges set out by Dr. King. Composing poems is a meditative spiritual act of resistance. Poetry’s power lies in its ability to extend and sustain the empathetic imagination. In the spirit of Dr. King and his work as a humanitarian and activist, this anthology brings together poems that offer powerful testimonies to the urgent issues Dr. King defines and represents the polyphony of voices that speak in resistance to our continuing problems of racism, poverty, and war.

In these selections, you will hear poets Lauryn Alleyne and Jericho Brown reading their work featured in The Mighty Stream, as well as actor James Johnson reading the moving conclusion of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

We hope that you will join us for this year’s celebration of Dr. King and other leaders in the social justice movement, and I encourage you to visit to hear recordings of other Not Just Another Day Off celebrations.

Please be sure to join us again for these weekly episodes of ENCORES, highlighting all that the Folger has to offer.

Thank you.


Encores LogoCheck back each Friday for a new “from the archives” performance, introduced by some of our favorite artists, showcasing the best of Folger TheatreFolger ConsortO.B. Hardison Poetry, and lectures.