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Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. : From Selma to Minneapolis – The Struggle Continues: We Celebrate!

A celebration and look back at the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the plight of Black people during the Civil Rights Movement. The question remains, has the dream been fulfilled?

Introduction: MLK Holiday and Celebration

January 18, 2021 is a United States federal holiday that marks and celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It is observed on the 3rd Monday of each year.  Dr. King's actual birthday is actually January 15th.

Coretta Scott King, wife of the slain civil rights leader, staged the first observance of King's birthday.  Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) was the first to introduce it as a congressional bill that would establish Dr. King's birthday as a national holiday.  The bill failed and following the failure, six million signatures were obtained and submitted to the U.S. Congress.  Conyers and Representative Shirley Chisholm (D-New York) would resubmit the multiple times before it finally passed following the 1982 and 1983 civil rights marches in Washington , DC. 

On November 2, 1983, Ronald Reagan signed the bill making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday, but the journey was not without a fight.   January 20,1986, marked the first official observance and celebration Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national holiday.  

It is a day set aside to observe Dr. King's life and legacy as a Civil Rights leader, scholar, pastor and activist.  It is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.  Americorps has been charged with leading this effort for the last 25 years.  

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Did you know Dr. King?

Born:                                 January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia

Died:                                  April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee

Cause of Death:                Assassination

Nationality:                        American

Occupation:                       Civil Rights Activist, Pastor, Humanitarian, Nobel Laureate

Buried:                                Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park

Spouse:                              Coretta Scott King

Children:                             Yolanda 

                                             Martin 

                                             Dexter

                                             Bernice

Education:                          Morehouse College, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (1948)

                                            Crozer Theological Seminary, Bachelor of Divinity (1951)

                                             Boston University, Ph.D. (1955)

Awards:                               Nobel Peace Prize, 1964

                                             Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1977

                                             Congressional Gold Medal, 2004