Martin Luther King Jr. Day - The Complete Guide

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - The Complete Guide

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrates the life and legacy of an important figure in American history, and the Civil Rights Movement. It is a Federal holiday and is observed to keep the memory for Dr. King alive and to pay tribute to his achievements.

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? | MLK was an American Baptist Minister. He was born on January 15, 1929 in the South under segregation, a policy that required African Americans to attend separate schools and use separate facilities. King believed that the policy was unjust and organized protests to raise awareness and to try to affect change. King believed that the protest against the government should be peaceful. He taught and advocated for peaceful resistance and civil disobedience. Sadly, King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39. 

When is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? | Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is always held on the third Monday of January. The annual observance is meant to be near Dr. King’s birthday. Most public schools are closed in observance of MLK Day.

The History | Originally labor unions began the push for a national holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Congress brought the matter to a vote in 1979, but the legislation did not pass. Later the King Center, a non-profit organization committed to continuing King’s work, went directly to the public for assistance. Eventually a petition to establish the holiday was submitted with over 6 million signatures! Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was finally made a national holiday in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. 

Celebrations | Traditionally observances include marches, church services, and speeches. Most importantly, the day has been used for volunteering and service projects in honor of King’s legacy. This year there will be many online celebrations that you can select to view safely from your home.

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