Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

The Third Monday Of January 

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Today, Monday, January 19th marks the recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. While it took fifteen years for the holiday to be recognized federally, it is amazing to see that nobody gave up in passing this legislation. The holiday first became an idea four days after his assassination in 1968.

However, it was not until 1983 that the holiday legislation was passed, after civil rights marches took place in Washington in both 1982 and 1983. At first, the holiday was intended to be celebrated on Martin Luther King’s birthday, which is January 15th. Since it was believed that the 15th would be too close to New Year’s Day and Christmas, the holiday is now celebrated on the third Monday of January each year.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. King, both a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist, had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s. Among many efforts, King headed the SCLC. Through his activism, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In 1948, Martin Luther King Jr. earned a sociology degree from Morehouse College and attended the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. He thrived in all his studies, and was valedictorian of his class in 1951, and elected student body president. He also earned a fellowship for graduate study. But Martin also rebelled against his father’s more conservative influence by drinking beer and playing pool while at college.

King was the youngest man ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. King was assassinated in April 1968, and continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history, often referenced by his 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream.”

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