Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday will be commemorated in the metropolitan area this weekend with special programs.

The life of the slain civil-rights leader, who would have been 48 Saturday, will be the subject of auditorium programs and classroom projects in area schools Friday.

Dr. King, assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., also will be honored by an official state holiday Friday in Maryland.

D.C. schools and Prince George's County government offices also will be closed Friday in his memory.

All other government, offices and school systems in the area will be open.

Mayor Walter Washington will participate in a commemorative ceremony Friday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 901 G St. NW. The program including a performance by Happy Birthday Black America, begins at 10 a.m.

City offices will be open Friday, but a "liberal leave" policy will be in effect that day for city employees, according to Martin Schaller, the mayor's executive secretary.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee will commemorate the birthday with a prayer-breakfast at 8 a.m. Saturday at the International Inn on Thomas Circle.

The group also will be hold a prayer vigil at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 4th and Michigan Ave. NE, on the Catholic University campus.

The Near Northeast Community Improvement Corp. will observe Dr. King's birthday at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Lisner Auditorium of George Washington University, 21st and H sts. NW. The program is to include a performance of the play 'The Wiz.'

People's Congregational Church, 4704 13th St. NW, will sponsor a series of events called a "Soul Festival", which will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday with a prayer-virgil. At 2 p.m., the church will sponsor a seminar on civil rights. City Councilman Marion Barry and Dr. A. Knightson Stanley are among scheduled speakers.

At 7 p.m. a "twon meeting" at the church will feature a play by local teenagers on King's life and the civil rights movement of the '60s.

The festival will end Sunday with the annual service for freedom and justice. Dr. King's last public speech will be read.

The Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, 4606 16th St. NW, also will hold a commemorative service and program Saturday.

A commemorative program will be held at 7 p.m. Friday Glenarden Municipal Hall. Another program honoring Dr. King at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Richard Montgomery High School will feature the Clinton Gospel Choir and the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra and Junior Symphony.

A countrywide commemoration featuring a play based on Dr. King's life will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Thomas Jefferson Community Theater, 125 S. Glebe Rd., Arlington.