Remembering Dr. King

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Nicole Revilla, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Monday January 21, Loretto Academy faculty and students had the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing day off from the pressures of the second semester.

Loretto had the day off in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday that commemorates the civil rights activist’s life dedicated to equality.

The federal holiday is celebrated every third Monday of January, also known as Dr. King’s birthday.

President Ronald Reagan declared Martin Luther King Jr. day a national federal holiday in 1983 to honor his accomplishments.

King is known for using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience to combat the racial inequality he saw throughout America at the time.

Most famously known for his “I Have a Dream” Speech, Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist and prominent leader of the Civil rights movement during the 1960’s.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia; he was a Baptist minister and attended Boston University.

Martin Luther King Jr. graduating from Boston University. Photo from the Boston University archives.

King was the leader of the famous Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person.

He was arrested multiple times for his acts to promote civil rights, he is the author of the famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.

In 1963, King organized the March on Washington where he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech that has since become one of the most well known American speeches.

In 1964, King received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a civil rights activist.

However, in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of his motel room in Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Many Americans use the holiday as a day to learn about the history of America’s Civil Rights Movement and also participate in peaceful protests for causes that King supported.

Amit Primor
Martin Luther King Jr. leading the March on Washington in 1963. Photo by

Although it was named a national holiday, not all 50 states officially observed the day until 2000 when it was recognized by South Carolina.

Arizona originally rejected to observe MLK Day, setting off a massive boycott in the state in 1987 and only voting to return the holiday in 1992.

New Hampshire was the last state to make MLK Day a paid state holiday in 1999.

Now a days, the holiday is an opportunity for open discussion about race relations in America and how we can learn from the past and from leaders like Dr. King.

Martin Luther King in 1955.

Former President Barack Obama used to celebrate the holiday by taking his daughters and wife to volunteer at local community shelters and soup kitchens, as well as issuing a statement urging all Americans to take examples from Dr. King.

With the government shutdown now on its fourth week, this year Martin Luther King Jr. Day could happen during it as well.

Many government workers take the day off as a paid federal holiday, however this year they were forced to undergo the holiday without pay.

As well as pay, some government run popular sights visited during MLK day, such as King’s birthome, were not open for visitors to enjoy.

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, take the time to reflect on what equality means, and appreciate the work put in by many activists like Dr. King who dedicated their lives for equality for all.