Not Just Another Day Off 2019

A Poetic Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 21, 2019, 10:00 am
For thirteen years, the Folger has presented "Not Just Another Day Off," a poetic celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday. In January 2019, award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson joined for this special event combining poetry with historical speeches from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Shirley Chisholm, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and others.
With the evolving national conversation on race and institutional and structural racism, we thought it was worth revisiting the incredible speeches that were read that day, including "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July" by Frederick Douglass. 
Marilyn Nelson was joined by actors Sara Barker, Jeremy Hunter, and Fatima Quander.
Listen to the entire program below or on Soundcloud.

This event was co-sponsored by the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University.


The Declaration of Independence - Founding Fathers (1776) 

Sara Barker

"What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" - Frederick Douglas (1852) 

Fatima Quander, Sara Barker, Jeremy Hunter

"Ain't I A Woman?" - Sojourner Truth, Women's Rights Convention, Old Stone Church, Akron, Ohio, (1851) 

Fatima Quander

"The Gettysburg Address" - Abraham Lincoln (1863) 

Sara Barker

Poems - Marilyn Nelson

  • “Across the Parade”
  • “A Wreath for Emmett Till”
  • “Miracle in the Collection Plate”
  • “Conductor”

"I've Been To The Mountaintop" - Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)

Jeremy Hunter

Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech - Martin Luther King Jr. (1964)

  Jeremy Hunter

Poems – Marilyn Nelson

  • “The Tulsa Convulsion”
  • “Making History
  • “Nelsons”
  • “Minor Miracle”

Inaugural Address - John F. Kennedy (1960) 

Sara Barker

"Equal Rights for Women" - Shirley Chisholm (1969) 

Fatima Quander

"The Other America" - Martin Luther King Jr. (1968) 

Jeremy Hunter


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

2019 Not Just Another Day Off