Today is a day that we celebrate something and someone bigger than ourselves. Today is a day that we all celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., and of course his impact in our world today and in the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929, though this year we celebrate his day on the 16th, and he became a civil rights activist early in his career. Martin led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, also leading an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1963 King contributed to organizing the March on Washington in which he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for battling racial inequality and in 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches. While the Civil Right Movement drew much of his attention, he also concentrated on opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War, even alienating many allies with his 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam.” His life was sadly cut short as he was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee.
After his death the campaign for Martin Luther King Jr. Day soon started. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law, and it was first observed three years later; though some opposed observing the holiday as such. In 2000 all 50 states observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the first time. This day is a day that we should all come together; particularly in the social climate in which we live. With all the negative news, views, and actions taking place recently; this day marks a day for all of us to come together no matter race, age, gender or creed. There are plenty of ways you can celebrate, and do so by actually honoring MLK’s beliefs. From marches taking place in cities all over the country to art shows, speeches, parades and more that will celebrate the Civil Rights leader and his legacy. Today a great day to meet some new people, expand your knowledge and get familiar with the community in which you live. Celebrate the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. as he would want you too; embracing everyone and a fair, equal life. Happy Birthday Sir!