Significance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Devon Urquiza, Columnist

“I have a dream,” were the famous words of Martin Luther King, Jr., a social activist who fought for equality for African Americans. King inspired many monumental events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and The March on Washington. On Aug. 28,1963 he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech, and inspired African Americans across the nation to stand up for themselves and their rights. Five years later, on April 4, 1968  King was assassinated while standing on a balcony at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  As the nation mourned the loss of a hero, his supporters were making a way for his legacy to live on.

Soon after King died, a campaign was started to create a holiday to commemorate and honor King and his work. Six million signed a petition to pass the holiday, and in 1983, the bill was finally passed. Many states refused to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, saying he didn’t deserve a holiday. Arizona was one of the states that resisted and did not recognize the holiday until 1992. Now, every third Monday of January, Americans celebrate King’s birthday by taking a day off of school, holding celebrations in many states, and taking time to remember what this amazing man did to improve life for African Americans and other minorities. Contributed to by Emily LaBatt