Wasn’t it great not having to go to school yesterday? Don’t you wish we had every Monday off to recuperate from the weekend? Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but yesterday wasn’t just another Monday off from school. It was a day to serve your community and remember a man named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Believe it or not, there was once a time when this country had silly laws prohibiting some of its citizens from daily activities that we take advantage of today. Imagine if you wanted to go see the latest movie with a friend, but you couldn’t sit together because your skin tones were different. Imagine if you couldn’t go to the college or university you had dreamed of attending your entire life because your skin was too dark. Sounds silly right? Well, there was once a time when these were actual laws!
A long time ago, a man named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. decided to stand up for liberty and justice for all American citizens no matter their religion, race, or gender. Dr. King believed that everyone should have the freedom to make their own choices in life, rather than have them hindered because of their skin tones. And today, we celebrate Dr. King’s work, compassion, and legacy.
Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating from Morehouse College in 1948, he began studying theology at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. In 1953, he married a woman named Coretta Scott and together they had four children named Yolanda, Martin, Dexter, and Bernice.
During Dr. King’s lifetime, there was a lot of violence to keep people of different races separated, but he and many of his friends felt that was wrong. They staged sit-ins and peaceful marches to demonstrate that no matter what people looked like, they were all equal and should have the same rights and privileges.
Dr. King was known for giving very moving speeches, but probably his most famous was his I have a Dream Speech which he gave on August 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C. His speeches, works, and dedication to changing the nation’s views on segregation were so radical and uplifting that he became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was shot and killed as he exited a hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. To honor his memory and fight for equality and justice, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a United States federal holiday in 1986. So, remember that this holiday isn’t a day to be a coach potato. Go out and serve your community, help those that are in need, and be an inspiration for future generations just like Dr. King not just one day out of the year, but everyday!