Each year, the United States celebrate the first holiday of the year known as “MLK day” or Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a federal holiday marking the birthday one man who has done great things in his life: Martin Luther King Jr.
MLK day is observed on the third Monday of January each year. His actual birthday is on January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21.
The campaign for a federal holiday in honor of MLK’s name began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
MLK was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. MLK was a man who had a lot of courage and determination when fighting for civil rights in the face of oppression, ignorance and violence.
He has left a valuable legacy of non-violent protests, influential decisions, monumental actions and steadfast progressions of humanitarian rights that reach far beyond the civil rights movement. He refused to allow prison, violence or the threat of death sway his end mission. Instead, he stood beside his goal of achieving rights for all through non-violent protests.
Volunteerism through improving the lives of others (and yours) is also an important legacy to keep in mind. MLK day is designated as a national day of service. Since the pandemic is still on-going, the best that you can help your community right now is to promote safety and follow protocols to minimize and avoid COVID-19. Your generosity is also a great way to help others to keep the dream alive despite the pandemic.
If you want to learn more about MLK’s works, the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University is home to the King Papers Project which offers a complete and thorough collection of all of King’s speeches and writings for anyone who wants to delve deeper into his works.