“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”
MLK quoted this message to all those people who choose not to speak against wrong.
He dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of African American peoples who were suffering from racial discrimination from society. To acknowledge his accomplishments MLK Day is observed each year on the Third Monday of January. This year it will be observed on 16th January President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1983 to make MLK Day a federal holiday and after three years in 1986 first MLK day was observed.
John Conyers played an important role in convincing congress to declare this day a federal holiday. He was the African American democrat from Michigan who introduced the bill to make January 15 a federal holiday four days after the King’s assassination.
Popular singer Stevie wonder released the song “Happy Birthday” in 1981 for the support of MLK Day.
President Reagan on Jan. 18, 1986 issued a statement for observing Martin Luther King as National Holiday :
“This year marks the first observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national holiday. It is a time for rejoicing and reflecting. We rejoice because, in his short life, Dr. King, by his preaching, his example, and his leadership, helped to move us closer to the ideals on which America was founded… He challenged us to make real the promise of America as a land of freedom, equality, opportunity, and brotherhood.”
How Martin Luther King inspired for fighting against racial discrimination?
During his time things were different for white and black people like there were different schools and churches for white people where black people cannot enter.Even in the buses, black people were allowed to sit only in the seats “marked for colored”.Sometimes they would have to stand by bus even if white people’s seats were unoccupied.
There was one famous incident when civil rights activist Rosa Parks was traveling on a bus and all the seats of the bus were filled. Suddenly one white man boarded the bus and the bus driver told Rosa to stand up and give up her seat but she refused it and as a result, she was arrested and spent a night in jail.
This whole incident inspired Martin to organize a boycott of the public transportation system.
In 1963, He organized a famous march known as “March on Washington” and over 250000 people attended it to show the importance of civil rights. March on Washington was a great success and the Civil Rights Act was passed a year later in 1964.
One of his main influences was Mahatma Gandhi who taught people to protest in a non-violent manner
How did Martin Luther King died?
He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, TN, he was shot by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of his hotel.
Interesting Facts about Dr.Martin Luther King
He was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Around 730 streets in the United States named after Martin Luther King, Jr.
He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He was best known for advancing the civil rights movement and “I have a dream” speech.
Outside the united states, MLK Day is observed in Canada, Israel, Japan, and the Netherlands.