Martin Luther King Day - A Day of Service

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The History of Martin Luther King Day
by Shmuel Ross and David Johnson

It took 15 years to create the federal Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. Congressman John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, first introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968. After the bill became stalled, petitions endorsing the holiday containing six million names were submitted to Congress.

Conyers and Rep. Shirley Chisholm, Democrat of New York, resubmitted King holiday legislation each subsequent legislative session. Public pressure for the holiday mounted during the 1982 and 1983 civil rights marches in Washington.

Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. A compromise moving the holiday from Jan. 15, King's birthday, which was considered too close to Christmas and New Year's, to the third Monday in January helped overcome opposition to the law.

Read more and find out how you can serve in your community:

MLK biography on Nobel

The King Center

MLK Research and Education Institute

The "I Have a Dream" speech audio and video

Martin Luther King, Jr and the Civil Rights Movement
The Seattle Times

"Lost" MLK speech from 1967 at Glenville High School in Ohio
MLK Online

Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service

Corporation for National & Community Service


Zsa Zsa said...

Thanks for this. We could all use a little inspiration and motivation from time to time and Martin sure is an inspiration!

Deb Bailey said...

Hi ZsaZsa, You are very welcome! His life is an example of what can be accomplished against the odds. Thanks for your comments!

rok said...

I read a lot about MLK, for me he is a reference (I dare guess for many people as well) and definitely one of the greatest men of my lifetime.
Thanks for this remembering


Deb Bailey said...

Hi Rok,
Yes, I agree! He certainly is a reference and his words and insights are just as powerful today as they were decades ago.
Thanks for your comments!

Back to Top