Martin Luther King Day, celebrated as a national holiday on the third Monday of January, is this Monday, Jan. 18. This is also the date of the 2010 King Day of Service that celebrates the birthday of Dr. King by reminding people that his life was given in service to people of all races and creeds.
In Colorado, most schools, government offices, banks and some businesses celebrate the day with a day off school or work. If you and your family would like to participate in this year’s King Day of Service, please refer to allforgood.org or mlkday.gov to learn of the organized projects in our area.
King’s background and credentials are exceptional. He was a well-educated man who attended segregated public schools in Georgia and graduated from high school when he was only fifteen. He earned a B.A. degree from the same college from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. He wanted to be a minister so he graduated from Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951 and then completed his residency and received his post-graduate degree from Boston University in 1955.
It was in December of 1955 that King accepted leadership of the well-known non-violent bus boycott that lasted 382 days until Dec. 21, 1965, when the Supreme Court declared the segregation on buses to be unconstitutional.
It is interesting to note that while Dr. King used only peaceful means to call attention to the woes of segregation, he was arrested more than 20 times, his home was bombed and his family was under constant siege.
Dr. King addressed a peaceful march in Washington, D.C. of over 250,000 people where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream,” speech. For the full text of his speech, refer to mlkday.gov. Below is perhaps the most famous excerpt from that speech.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to King when he was 35 years old, making him the youngest to ever receive the prize. He immediately gave the prize money of approximately $54,000 to the civil rights movement. Three years later King was assassinated while he was standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tenn.