Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
Observed annually on every third Monday of January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the life and contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. for his non-violent campaigns to bring racial equality in the US!
|2022||17th January||Monday||United States|
|2023||18th January||Monday||United States|
|2024||19th January||Monday||United States|
Why Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
Born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia as a son of a minister, Martin Luther King Jr. followed his father and grandfather to study Theology!
He was one of the reasons for the success of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first major protest of the African American civil rights movement! Influenced by Gandhi’s civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance, Dr. King Jr. also advocated the same in South America against racial segregation.
The peaceful protests led by him were often met with violence, but he and his followers persevered causing the movement to gain momentum.
He won the hearts of Christians, American ideas, Northern whites, and the federal government through his appeals being a gifted orator.
In 1963, a massive march protesting for jobs and freedom was led in Washington by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin where Dr. King Jr. made his famous heart-stirring speech “I have a dream”. Nearly 2,550,000 people witnessed this momentous occasion by gathering outside Lincoln Memorial.
As a result of the civil rights movement, the 24th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were established abolishing the poll tax and racial discrimination in education, employment, and public facilities.
Dr. King Jr. also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, making him the youngest person to win the Nobel Prize at the time. He directed his efforts to win economic rights for the black community and poor Americans.
He was a civil rights hero who worked devotedly to eliminate racial discrimination that affected the black community negatively. His courage to stand up to unjust laws through civil disobedience is an inspiration for peaceful protests, marches, & sit-ins to many even to this day.
He was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968, when he had come to support the Sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Tennessee.
To honor Dr. King Jr., the Martin Luther King Jr. Day was finally passed as a federal holiday in 1983 although the idea sprouted just after 4 days of his assassination.
Today all the states in the US observe the day remembering his achievements and educating students to stand bravely against inequality.
How Can We Observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
- Watch documentaries
Get a visual glimpse of the happenings during the most important periods of history involving MLK Jr. such as King: A filmed Record… From Montgomery to Memphis, King in the Wilderness, In remembrance of Martin and many other documentaries!
- Catch up on Autobiography and biography
You could snuggle up and read MLK Jr.’s Autobiographies and Biographies or read them to your children, students, or your reading group to get a detailed taste of Dr. King’s life!
- Learn more about civil disobedience
Expand your learnings by knowing more about civil disobedience and the many times it was implemented in history through books, historic site visits, movies, history books, fun quizzes, and much more!
- Attend programs related to MLK Jr.
Today many schools and organizations observe MLK Jr. Day through various programs! If you happen to be close to the venue do attend with family and friends!
- Shout out on social media
You can observe the day by posting a blog, video, or quotes related to Dr, MLK Jr. and his accomplishments! Use #MartinLutherKingJrDay to post on your favorite social media channels today!
Interesting Facts About Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
Here a few interesting facts related to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.!
- The first Bill to honor Martin Luther King Jr. was proposed 4 days after his assassination in 1964
- The Bill to honor MLK Jr.’s Birthday as a federal holiday was put to vote for the first time only in 1979 but fell short of 5 votes and couldn’t be passed
- “I have a dream” was Dr. King’s last speech
- He was imprisoned at least 29 times in his life as per the King Centre records
History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
MLK Jr. Day was proposed as a bill to make King Jr.’s Birthday a national holiday after 4 days of his assassination. The idea was first proposed as a bill in Congress by US Senator Edward Brooke and US representative John Conyers. However, the bill came to vote for the first time only in 1979 but couldn’t be passed as it was short of 5 votes.
Finally, in 1983, the bill was passed with 78 to 22 votes in the Senate and 338 to 90 in the House of Representatives by President Reagan. The result also was due to awareness raised by the King Centre and Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday song which enabled Coretta Scott King to collect six million signatures in support of King’s Birthday to be observed as a federal holiday.
As Dr. King Jr.’s Birthday is on January 15th, the third Monday in January is designated to be observed as Martin Luther King Jr. Day following the Uniform Monday Holiday Act guidelines. It wasn’t mandatory for all states to observe this federal holiday.