Sunday, January 15, 2012

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an American

January 16, 2012 is a US Federal Holiday. It is the day to remember the legacy that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has fought for us, being an American. He was born on January 15, 1928 and was assassinated in April 4th 1968. He stood for justice and equality as a civil rights leader.

"We're celebrating the best of what we are, but also what me must become, knowing that we've not arrive there yet," - Martin Luther King III

Dr. King at Tenth Anniversary of the S.C.L.C. in Atlanta, GA in Aug 16, 1967

Dr. King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor began soon after his assassination in 1968.

Then, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed on January 20, 1986. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000. (source:

Several politicians were against the creation of the holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King (see wikipedia/reluctance to observe)

Sen. John McCain (Republican of Arizona) voted against the creation of the holiday to honor Dr. King. He also defended AZ Republican Governor Evan Mecham's initiative to cancel a paid holiday in observance of MLK Day by state employees.

Sen Jesse Helms (Republican of North Carolina) led opposition to the bill and questioned King's importance to receive an honor (see social issues). He criticized King's opposition to the Vietnam War and accuse him of espousing "action-oriented Marxism"

In 2007, there has been a dramatic changes in the observance of the MLK holiday in both public and private sectors. Wikipedia identified that 33% of employers gave their employees a day off. While others opted to use this day as a floating holiday.

In the 21st Century, across the United States many observe the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday. Last year, in August 22, 2011, the Memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was opened to the public after two decades of planning, fund raising and construction. It is located at the West Potomac Park in Washington, DC.

As of today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is still a center of discussions and controversies. Historians, activists, pundits, scholars and among the people argue and discuss about his insights, visions and approaches in changing America's practices toward social issues, specifically on racial discrimination, equality, and profound activism.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, said;

"If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."

The following video link is worth remembering the ideals and legacies that he left us and still be our guiding principles in the future ... (source:

President Obama, the First Lady Michelle Obama and Malia honor Martin Luther King Jr.

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  1. Great article, Jalenn. Dr. Matin Luthr King, Jr. will always be remembered as someone who fought for civil rights. He has stilled up a lot in the hearts of all people and definitely has had an impact on society.

  2. Gail, indeed, Dr. King will live on to the growth and progress of the American Society as a whole. His insights and leadership will be cherished among generations today and those in the future ~