No School Monday, January 15, 2024

What is Martin Luther King Jr Day and how did it come to be a holiday?

  • Martin Luther King Jr Day is a federal holiday in the United States that takes place on the third Monday in January. It honors the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Each year, the celebration takes place on the Monday closest to his birthday, which is on January 15. This year, it is being held on January 16.
  • Sunday would have been King’s 94th birthday. He was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law, and it was first observed on January 20, 1986. The first time all states observed it was in 2000.
  • Reagan said the holiday was meant to remember King and “the just cause he stood for”. “America is a more democratic nation, a more just nation, a more peaceful nation because Martin Luther King Jr became her pre-eminent non-violent commander,” Reagan said in 1983.

What was King’s legacy?

  • King led a campaign of non-violent protests and civil disobedience in the struggle to end discrimination, including racial segregation, in the US in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • He pushed for social and economic improvements for African Americans while also fighting for legal equality.

Some famous MLK, Jr. quotes:

1. "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

2. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

3. "Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude."

4. "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

5. "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

6. "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

7. "Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."

8. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

9. "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."

10. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

11. "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."

12. "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

13. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

14. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

15. "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."