Martin Luther King, Jr.

A minister in the Baptist church, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights movement of the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s. During this time, African Americans were fighting to achieve the same rights and privileges as their white counterparts. Dr. King challenged the existing system using the novel approach of non-violent, strategic resistance. In fact, at the age of 35, Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Thanks, in part, to Dr. King and his followers’ protests in Selma, Alabama and Washington D.C., the government finally passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Holiday Traditions

Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia and so every year, the third Monday in January is celebrated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day or MLK Day. As it is a national holiday, most offices and departments close in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Unlike some other holidays, there are no general festivities around this day. However, in the last few decades, the third Monday of January has also become known as the King Day of Service. Dr. King had a vision of a “Beloved Community” – a united nation of citizens who would see past racial and economic barriers and work to support each other with love and compassion. To honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, service organizations across the country provide opportunities for Americans to come together and perform some sort of public service to benefit their communities.  


To learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his holiday, watch the video below:

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To learn more about the community service aspect of MLK Day and volunteer opportunities click here

For in-depth information on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visit The King Center