Martin Luther King Day, also known as MLK Day. He is a US federal holiday that is observed on the third Monday of January each year. It commemorates the birth of Baptist activist and reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. Who was a key figure in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968.
Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986 after US President Ronald Reagan formally declared it a federal holiday in 1983. On this day, which is often referred to as “a day on, not a day off.
Only MLK Day and George Washington’s birthday are recognised as federal holidays that fall on someone’s actual birthday.
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Who was Martin Luther King, Jr., and what did he accomplish?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929, made a significant contribution to the advancement of black Americans’ rights as well as the repeal of racial segregation laws in the US.
He gained national notoriety in 1955 after organising a boycott of buses by African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, in response to Rosa Parks’ arrest for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Rosa Parks was the secretary of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
King assisted in organising the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. A nonviolent demonstration intended to highlight racial discrimination in the US. King later went on to co-found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A civil rights organisation dedicated to achieving equality for African Americans through nonviolent protest.
King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech during the historic March on Washington. Which drew a crowd of some 250,000 people. The speech, which outlined his vision for social justice and equality in the US, is seen as a turning point in the civil rights movement.