Reflecting on the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day


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Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington, D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, more commonly known as MLK Day, is a United States federal holiday that occurs on the third Monday of January every year. MLK Day celebrates the birthday and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an American civil rights activist who fought for equality and an end to racial segregation throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Dr. King’s vision of equality and civil disobedience changed the world for his children and the children of all oppressed people. He is widely known for his “I Have a Dream” speech that was given to a massive group of civil rights marchers gathered around the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. during the March on Washington. Dr. King also participated in the Selma to Montgomery March which ended in brutality by the police and people in Selma. He is also well known for the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” that   he wrote after he was arrested in Alabama.

“King was a very important figure, and his achievements are still important to me today,” said freshman LaRyah Jones.

Dr. King fought for many things and is credited as the person who ended racial segregation. He believed that people should not be judged over the color of their skin, but for who they are and what they stand for. Above all of that, he fought not with his fists, but in a peaceful, nonviolent manner during protests. His achievements were above and beyond righteous to the black community, earning him an endless amount of respect and recognition for the Civil Rights Movement and as a person.

“I think, first, one must understand what I’m talking about and what I’m trying to do when I say ‘love’ and that the love ethic must be at the center of this struggle,” said Dr. King in an interview in 1964 with Robert Penn Warren.

Dr. King won a Nobel Peace Prize for his exceptional leadership skills in the principles of peace, nonviolence, and direct action. 

“I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice,” said Dr. King in his acceptance Speech in 1964.

He had a memorial put up in Washington, D.C. in 2011, one of only four people with a memorial who were not presidents.

Now, Dr. King’s Birthday is celebrated every year as a national holiday all across the United States. He is considered a symbol to many and represents peace and the quest for equality and nondiscrimination.