Martin Luther King Jr. Day: National Day of Service

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: National Day of Service

Martin Luther King Jr. StatueMartin Luther King Jr., an influential leader during the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968), civil rights activist, and Baptist minister made significant advances toward racial equality in America during his lifetime. Dr. King was an advocate of nonviolence who drew on his faith and used his voice to campaign for social change and promote freedom, equality, and justice for a more hopeful future.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”– Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is well-known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28th, 1963.

As you see Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the calendar, take a moment to reflect on the significance of the 3rd Monday of January each year. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the only non-president who has a national holiday designated in his honor.

Did you know it was a 15-year battle for the holiday to be approved by the federal government plus 17 years before Martin Luther King Jr. Day was recognized by all 50 states?

The persistence of civil rights activists like Dr. King helped campaign against legalized racial segregation, discrimination, and disenfranchisement. Civil rights leaders stood up to discrimination, were imprisoned, experienced brutal attacks, and even lost their lives in the fight for freedom.

  • How have you and those in your communities been impacted by the Civil Rights Movement?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 but his legacy lives on. Dr. King’s achievements are outstanding and inspiring. He has been honored with awards, medals, and recognitions, including receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for using nonviolent resistance to campaign for equal rights for Black Americans.

  • How can you work to promote the progress of a more just and equitable society?

Martin Luther King (MLK) Day is designated as a National Day of Service to encourage Americans to volunteer and improve their communities.

  • In what ways do you plan to volunteer and improve your community?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

https://americorps.gov/serve/volunteer/mlk-day/mlk-day-resources

https://www.handsontwincities.org/mlkday2024

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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