16th January 2023 by

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 16 January

Martin Luther King Jr Day is a holiday held on the third Monday of January in the US, celebrating. the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to create Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the first year it was observed was in 1986. It took fifteen years after his death to become official. He was such an important figure in American civil rights and desegregation that the nation reflects on his mission of striving for racial equality every year.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was a civil rights leader who led nonviolent protests to help achieve equal rights for African Americans. He followed his father to become a Baptist pastor, and he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the fifties, as well as forming the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and working with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) on nonviolent protests.

He spent his most prominent years advocating for the civil rights of Black Americans, who had never been treated equally since the abolition of slavery. Water fountains were still labelled as “Black” and “White”, and African Americans were still expected to sit at the back of the bus (Rosa Parks was another Black American at the time to protest this tradition who prompted King to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1957).

MLK Jr. saw the inequality and segregation that was normalized in American society, and began to take a stand against it by organizing nonviolent protests and speaking publicly – his most famous speech being the “I Have a Dream” speech at the landmark March on Washington in 1963.

In 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. However, he experienced resistance and threats from opponents during his years of activism. Four years later, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Following his death, there were riots throughout the nation. James Earl Ray (1928-1998), the man convicted of shooting King, was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

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