Is Martin Luther King Jr. Day In The US A Public Holiday?
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a declared public holiday in the United States, according to Holidays 2021. Commonly called MLK Day, most businesses, non-essential government departments, stores, shops, and schools remain closed on this day. The public transportations also do not follow their usual route.
Martin Luther King Jr. Early Life
Martin Luther King Jr. was of African-American descent, born to
Reverend Michael King Sr. and Alberta King (née Williams), the second
of three children. Ever since he was a child, Martin Luther King Jr.
(born Michael King Jr.) witnessed racial segregation that was
commonplace in the time. He was often the victim of racist comments.
King hated how, due to his skin colour, he and his father were asked to
get to the rear of a shop if they wished to be served. The young King
tried to fight with the bus conductor when he and his teacher were
forced to stand, to give white passengers a place to sit.
All these and more left an imprint on the young mind of Martin Luther King Jr. He was determined to hate every white person for letting this hate and segregation prevail. King even had to break off a romantic relationship with a white woman because an interracial marriage would have created a lot of problems and animosity between the two races.
This too influenced the 21-year-old. All this and more resulted in the Nobel Peace Prize winner working towards the eradication of segregation. His efforts are why the third Monday of January is celebrated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.
Civil Rights Movement
Throughout college, Martin Luther King Jr. was vocal about his
dislike of the racial segregation that was widespread in the country.
After Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger,
King along with E.D. Nixon, president of the local NAACP, was crucial
in setting the Montgomery bus boycott in motion. All people of
African-American descent who used the buses (75% of the bus users)
boycotted its use. This lasted for about 385 days until the court
finally decided against the prevalent rules and removed the
segregation. This was the first real victory for the African-Americans
and the first step of the leaders towards integration.
Moreover, his role in the boycott propelled King towards fame, and he became known nationally as a prominent spokesman for the civil rights movement. His hard work towards integration resulted in the Monday near his birthday being celebrated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.
Martin Luther King Jr. followed the nonviolent principles of civil disobedience used by Mahatma Gandhi to attain ‘freedom from oppression’. He included children and young adults in his marches and sit-ins to provoke mass arrests after the original volunteers were unable to garner sufficient public and media attention. During the arrest that thus occurred, King penned the famous ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’. The same year, the Washington March took place, and King was amongst the top leaders responsible for organizing it.
The Washington March
Although the goals of the March were continuously debated, and the civil disobedience removed to make it more peaceful, particular objectives were finally decided upon. These included the elimination of racial segregation in schools, etc. and the inclusion of meaningful civil rights as well as enforcing of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The protestors also talked about making the minimum wage fair and equal and improving the Labor Standards Act, a program for the unemployed, and a prohibition of discrimination.
Martin Luther King Jr. Speech
Over 250,000 supporters gathered that day on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and all the Black leaders gave their speeches in front of them. They talked about the inequality, of race segregation, and what they expect from the government. Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech was also given here. This March is said to have paved the way to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The three Selma to Montgomery marches took place in 1965 in the desire of the right to vote for those of African-American descent.
Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination
King was assassinated on the balcony of Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, where he was staying with his entourage. Martin Luther King jr. gave his life serving his people and died fighting for their cause and equality. Even on the day he was assassinated, he was there to take part in a rally for equal wages and better treatment of the people of colour. King has worked tirelessly towards the integration of all races and died for the cause. His services caused the president to sign on the document declaring the third Monday of January as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.
What To Do On Martin Luther King Day?
MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January, near the time of
the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Let us take a look at how the
public celebrates this day:
People often organize or take part in “giving” marches: These marches commemorate the Washington March, as well as the Martin Luther King Jr. speech ‘I Have A Dream’. Moreover, these marches include giving away food and the like to the needy throughout the path. People would give away household items, toiletries, food, and other necessary items to the homeless, the poor, and the needy while marching from one place to another.
People often volunteer in homeless shelters, food pantries, etc.: Following Martin’s words, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” People often volunteer on this day, serving others, just as King taught in his lifetime.
Support organizations: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, people often make donations and volunteer for organizations that fight against racial injustice. This day has been made about serving someone, just what King intended his life and death to be about. On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, extend a helping hand to your fellow brothers and sisters of African-American descent and other people of colour and work towards eradicating racism from America.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observances
|2019||Mon||21 January||Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Federal Holiday|
|2020||Mon||20 January||Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Federal Holiday|
|2021||Mon||18 January||Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Federal Holiday|
|2022||Mon||17 January||Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Federal Holiday|
|2023||Mon||16 January||Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Federal Holiday|
|2024||Mon||15 January||Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Federal Holiday|
|2025||Mon||20 January||Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Federal Holiday|
1. How does America celebrate Martin Luther King Day?
MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January. People often organize or take part in giving marches, volunteer in homeless shelters, food, pantries, etc.
2. What businesses are closed on MLK Day?
The finance industry, banks, federal and government services, postal services, schools, stores, and shops remain closed on this day.
3. What did Martin Luther King do?
Martin Luther King Jr. King, inspired by the non-violence and civil disobedience beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi, followed the same in his quest of eradicating racism from America. He was the most vocal spokesperson during the movement and talked primarily against segregations based on race.
4. What did MLK Day used to be called?
MLK Day is also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, King Day, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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