On the third Monday of every January since 1986, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The state of Illinois in 1973 was the first-ever state to adopt MLK day. With his assassination happening just five years earlier, some felt like he deserved recognition for all he did during the Civil Rights movement. Even then, it still took nearly 15 years for it to be legally declared a national holiday. Only four days after his death, Congressman John Conyers from Michigan took to the Congress floor to fight for the federal holiday. Of course, this did not resonate with any of the congressmen at the time, and it was passed over. The first-ever MLK day was celebrated in 1986, but that doesn’t mean every state was excited about these celebrations. Dr. King has paved the way for current and future generations of African-Americans to get the respect they deserve. His legacy will live on forever, and the least we could do is dedicate one day to him.
Why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr?
As much as we want to believe that everyone takes a second to remember MLK, that is just not the reality of the situation. To this day, states such as Alabama and Mississippi choose to celebrate Confederate General Robert E. Lee Day instead of MLK day. For the majority, Dr. King is recognized as the democracy icon of his generation, but he was a very controversial figure in the ’60s and ’70s. Despite being the most important voice of the Civil Rights movement, he still faces racism and discrimination to this day. He wanted equal rights for everyone. Despite facing multiple hardships, he continued to fight for other people’s rights up until the day he died.
How you can celebrate
Whether you take 15 minutes in the morning to think back on America’s history or watch his iconic “I have a dream” speech, you celebrate it how you want to. It is important to remember our history and those who shaped it. Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembering a part of American history that continues to be relevant today.
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