The Complete Guide to Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Countdown

until January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Facts and History

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday that is observed every year in the United States. The holiday celebrates the life of an important figure in American history, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and is meant to keep his memory alive and to pay tribute to his achievement and legacy.

martin-luther-king-jr-dayWho Was Martin Luther King Jr.?

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. An American Baptist Minister, King grew up in the Southern United States under segregation, a policy that required Blacks to use separate facilities than Whites and to attend different schools. King rightly believed that the policy of segregation was unjust, and he spoke out openly about it. He organized protests and marches to raise awareness and try to affect change.

One of the key beliefs of Martin Luther King Jr. was that protests against the government should be peaceful in nature. He taught a policy of civil disobedience and peaceful resistance, hoping to bring people together, not tear them apart. He is especially well known for his “I Have a Dream Speech,” which he gave in 1963. Sadly, Dr. King’s life was cut short when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39.

When Is Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is always held on the third Monday of the month of January. The date is meant to put the annual observance near Dr. King’s birthday while allowing federal and state employees who have the day off to enjoy a three-day weekend. Most public schools are also closed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but most private businesses remain open.

History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Labor unions began pushing for a national holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. in the years following his death. In 1979, Congress brought the matter to a vote, but the legislation did not pass.

When the government was unable to move forward, the King Center, a nonprofit organization committed to continuing Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, went directly to the public for help. Many celebrities began calling for the establishment of a holiday, and a petition to establish the holiday was submitted to the government with 6 million signatures.

After three long years of debate, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was finally made a holiday by a bill signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. 1986 marked the first official observance of the holiday.

How Martin Luther King Jr. Day Is Celebrated

Every year, special events take place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day across the United States in major cities and small towns. Church services are held, modern civil rights leaders give speeches and Dr. King’s own speeches are often recited at public events. Television stations often air specials about the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. People are encouraged to contemplate what equality means, and many people spend the day volunteering to help those less fortunate in memory of Dr. King over the holiday weekend.

36 Inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

“Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right…”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Intelligence plus character: That is the goal of a true education.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“To server, you only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Love is the most durable power in the world.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare composed poetry. He should sweep the streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper, who did his job well.'”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the full staircase.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means – keep moving.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have learned this art: When I have nothing more to say, I stop talking.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can server. You don’t have to have a college degree to server. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to server. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“What matters is not how long you love… but how you live.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.”

Martin Luther King Jr.