January 12, 2017
As we approach the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday, I wanted to take a moment to remember why we honor Dr. King—this remarkable man, his values, and the impact he continues to have on our nation and the world.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrates Dr. King’s birthday, Jan. 15, 1929. The father of the Civil Rights movement would have been 88 this year. We know Dr. King as a powerful and inspirational speaker and leader. He was highly educated — graduating from high school at the age of 15 and earning a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, a second bachelor’s of divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, and a doctorate from Boston University. He had strong family ties to the ministry. He was ordained as a minister at the age of 19 and was the co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father for the last several years of his life.
Among his many accomplishments, Dr. King led the peaceful march on Washington, D.C. in 1963, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. A video link to that inspirational speech is included because of its continued relevance today. Dr. King was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963 and was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, just 35 when he received it in 1964.
Although his life was tragically cut short when he was assassinated in 1968, his inspiring legacy of peaceful protest and standing up for truth and justice lives on.
The federal holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Regan in 1983 and first observed in 1986; yet it was not officially observed in all 50 states until 2000. I invite you to read more about the significance of this holiday written by his wife, Coretta Scott King: http://www.thekingcenter.org/meaning-king-holiday.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many organizations and universities participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, donating their time to others. However you plan to spend this year’s holiday, please remember the spirit and the legacy of this remarkable man.