Many across the U.S. on Monday will honour the life and legacy of civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King Jr., through marches, tributes and volunteering in an effort to improve their communities.
The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is observed each year on the third Monday in January. King, who would have turned 93 on Jan. 15, was a pastor and civil rights leader who dedicated his life to achieving racial equality — a goal he said was inseparable from alleviating poverty and stopping war.
Birth Name: Michael King Jr
Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King advanced civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the son of early civil rights activist and minister Martin Luther King Sr.
King helped organize rallies and boycotts, including the successful Montgomery bus boycott, and advocated for peaceful protests. King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, as he stood outside Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel. He was 39.
Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer and improve their communities, according to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In observance of the national holiday, schools, government agencies, businesses and banks are closed.
King’s example and his insistence on nonviolent protest continue to influence many activists pushing for civil rights and social change today. Here are various events being held on Monday across the U.S. in honour of the late civil rights hero.
In Washington, D.C., some of King’s family will lead a march for peace through the nation’s capital in remembrance of the slain civil rights leader. At 10 a.m. local time, the march will head toward the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge where attendees will be joined by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other civil rights activists.
Why Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday became a federal holiday in the U.S.?
Though King lost his life in April 1968, it would be 15 years before Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Day would be declared a federal holiday in the U.S. — and another three years before it would be observed.
Starting in 1968, the year King was assassinated and less than five years after his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced legislation for a federal holiday to commemorate King. Conyers went on to reintroduce the legislation in every session from 1968 to 1983.
President Ronald Reagan finally signed the holiday into law in 1983, with observance on the third Monday of January each year. The holiday was first observed in 1986.
Before the day was officially recognized on the federal level, some U.S. states recognized holidays in honour of King. Connecticut did so in 1973. Illinois adopted a commemoration day in 1969 and also made it a paid holiday in 1973.
It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
‘I Have a Dream’ speech by Martin Luther King .Jr in Washington :-
Nobel Prize To Martin Luther King Jr. :-
Take a look at the telegram that was sent to Martin Luther King Jr. informing him that he had been awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.
Martin Luther King Jr. received the peace prize “for his non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population.”
“I cannot accept this as an honor to me personally… It is for this reason I have decided to give every dollar accompanying the award to the civil rights movement.”
Take an exclusive look at the thank you letter Martin Luther King Jr. sent to the Nobel Foundation after learning about his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.