The NAACP Portland Branch will kick off a weekend of events celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with its annual roots music and gospel concert at Merrill Auditorium on Friday evening.

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday recognizing the birthday of the civil rights leader, who was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, when he was 39 years old.

The family-friendly concert Friday will start at 7 p.m. and feature performances by award-winning singer-songwriter Samuel James and the Green Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Knightlife Ensemble and the King Middle School Chorus. General admission tickets are $12 in advance or $17 on the day of the show. To buy tickets, visit the Merrill box office or

On Saturday, the annual MLK Community Dialogue will be held at 8:15 a.m. at the Abromson Community Center at the University of Southern Maine. This year’s event is titled, “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge Summit,” where participants will set goals to answer President Obama’s call to increase opportunities for success among boys and young men of color.

The 34th annual MLK Holiday Breakfast Celebration will be held Monday at 8 to 11 a.m. at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who lives in Ogunquit, will be the keynote speaker. The program will recognize the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Sct of 1965 and its theme will be “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest,” taken from the lyrics of “Ella’s Song,” written by Bernice Johnson Reagon. Tickets are $35 each and are available at the door or in advance at

Kelley Bouchard can be reached at 791-6328 or at:

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