We all know Martin Luther King, Jr. as a hero in the fight for civil rights. He was a leader in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. His most famous address was the “I Have A Dream” speech. He was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The holiday is observed on the third Monday of January, which is the 21st this year. King was assassinated in 1968, but it wasn’t until 1983 during the Reagan administration that the holiday was established, and it wasn’t until 1986 that Martin Luther King Day became observed in the United States.
What else does Martin Luther King Day mean to the United States?
There are a number of reasons why this day is celebrated.
Martin Luther King Day celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. His words were inspiring, but they weren’t just words that he voiced. He actually lived a life fighting for freedom and justice. He withstood threats against his life as a result of standing up for his beliefs.
Martin Luther King Day honors the life of a fighter for racial justice and equality. It celebrates this equality in a society that he dreamed to become color-blind. He stood up to make a difference for every race. His words spoke for every nationality, to feel no segregation. This is not to be known as a “black holiday”; it is known as a “peoples’ holiday.”
Martin Luther King Day celebrates that he was a peaceful man. He spoke with his voice, not with violence. He knew that nonviolence meant that his voice was not drowned out. People were more apt to listen to non-aggression.
Martin Luther King Day honors one of the bravest men in America. He endured threats, beatings, and bombings. He went to jail 29 times to achieve freedom for others.
Martin Luther King Day teaches the next generation to learn about standing up for their rights through non-violent disputes.
Martin Luther King Day is a day of service. His followers choose this day to help out at shelters, hospitals, and even prisons. People volunteer to help feed the homeless, they mentor children that come from a life of struggle, and essentially help to make the community a better place.
“I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”– Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963
“I Have A Dream” Speech