Martin Luther King Day
We shall always march ahead
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is world-renowned as the greatest civil rights leader that ever lived. As the United States welcomes its first African-American president into office, we are reminded of the efforts and accomplishments of Dr. King before his assassination. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of the most widely celebrated and well-known holidays of our time. This prominent African-American man is recognized every year by Americans for his accomplishments in challenging the boundaries of race and color.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first implemented in 1983 but was not first commemorated until 1986 due to some controversy. It has since been recognized on the third Monday in January every year. Because it is an official national holiday, post offices, banks, schools and many public and private establishments are closed in honor of Dr. King.
Who was he?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a cornerstone of the civil rights movement. He spoke out against hate, segregation and discrimination, and acted as a leader who sought equality for all African-Americans. Many people still use Martin Luther King quotes when they refer to equality and racism. "I have a dream" is a widely known quote derived from a famous Martin Luther King speech given in Washington, DC.
For the entire history of Dr. King, consider consulting your local library or conduct an Internet search for online biographies that contain many interesting and important facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his philosophies.
If you're considering honoring Dr. King with your own celebration on Martin Luther King Day, there are many ways to do so. For example:
- Plan a picnic (or a dinner party if you live in a colder climate) and invite friends and family to share a special meal and time of fellowship in honor of the day. After dinner, consider listening to the famous speech and watching some footage of this American hero.
- If your child's school doesn't recognize this holiday, allow him or her to take treat bags to classmates in honor of the holiday. You will want to consult the teacher or administration first to ensure that this is acceptable.
- Talk to your church leadership about sponsoring a service in honor of Martin Luther King Day. This service might incorporate a special choir performance or a video in honor of Dr. King, as well as a keynote speaker who can read the Washington, DC, speech.
- Use Martin Luther King Day as an opening to celebrate other African-American heroes as part of Black History Month (February).
No matter how you plan to celebrate the holiday, the goal is to acknowledge the accomplishments of this great civil rights leader. If time permits, explore and celebrate the heritage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how his accomplishments paved the way for the freedoms Americans enjoy in their current way of life!