MARTIN Luther King Jr. Day is on Monday, January 17, in 2022, and offers Americans a chance to remember the tremendous strides he took in advancing civil liberties for all Americans.
Celebrated annually on the third Monday of January, MLK Jr. Day honors the life and accomplishments of Dr. King, an influential civil rights leader recognized for advancing the rights of minorities through a campaign of civil disobedience.
Who was Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr?
Widely regarded for his work in leading marches and parades throughout the segregated south in the 1950s and 1960s, Dr King worked to end racial segregation on public transportation, in public schools and workplaces and calling for racial equality on the national level.
King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929.
He followed his calling to become a Christian minister, with his sermons then coming in handy as he was called to the national stage to deliver fervent speeches.
He would soon become the most influential speaker and leader during the civil rights movement given his passionate speeches and willingness to get arrested to move his campaign forward.
King was known for advancing civil rights through nonviolent protests and civil disobedience, which was rooted through his Christian beliefs.
He participated in and led marches for blacks' right to vote, desegregation, labor rights, and other basic human civil rights.
His peaceful struggle against racial discrimination garnered national attention in 1955 when he led a boycott protesting segregation on buses.
He was then jailed and physically attacked for his vocalness on the issue, and his house was even bombed as he began receiving threats on his and his family's lives.
It wasn't until 1956 when the Supreme Court deemed such segregationist laws unconstitutional.
In 1963, King delivered the famous "I have a Dream" speech to a crowd of over 250,000 on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
In October 1964, he became the youngest man, at age 35, to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his continued fighting on achieving racial equality.
What do people do on the holiday?
Dating back to just 2000, when it was first observed by all 50 states, MLK Jr Day is a relatively new federal holiday.
It is seen as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of racial, gender, ethnic, religious, or other backgrounds.
Most workplaces and federal offices take the day off in his honor.
In schools, many pupils are taught about the accomplishments King led in the United States.
Private organizations and federal legislation have encouraged Americans to volunteer their time on the day.
MLK Jr Day has become the most recognized day on the calendar for community service.
How did MLK Jr Day become a holiday?
MLK Jr. Day, also known as Martin Luther King's birthday and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was first recognized by Ronald Reagan in 1983.
Following King's assassination on April 4, 1968, activists led the charge in making his birthday a national holiday to honor him.
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Trade unions led the campaign for the federal holiday after the bill was first introduced and subsequently endorsed in 1976.
After musician Stevie Wonder came out with his single "Happy Birthday" in honor of King, a petition to make the holiday on the federal level garnered more than six million signatures.
The holiday was first observed in 1986 and became a federal holiday in 2000.
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