Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the new decade


Library of Congress

Martin Luther King Jr. gives a speech about civil rights.

Janelle Marks

On Jan. 20 citizens across the United States will be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the life and achievements of the influential African-American civil rights leader.


Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Christian minister and activist for the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968 who is best known for leading through nonviolence and civil disobedience which was inspired by his Christian beliefs and Mahatma Gandhi, who also lead through nonviolent means.


One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous quotes is, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” where he talks about his nonviolent approach to make a change.


Most schools give students the day off to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day which is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. American employers in the private sector can choose whether or not to give their employees the day off, and according to Tylt, more employers still make it a regular work day.


Some ways Americans may celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day according to Hellogiggles is by talking to the elderly about their experiences growing up in that influential time, they might help out in their neighborhoods or give service in other ways, some might even be artistically inspired through writing, painting, or playing music. 


Martin Luther King Jr. is most well known for his “I Have a Dream” speech that he gave during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in Washington D.C. in 1963 that emphasized his wish that one day everyone will be treated equally no matter what color their skin is.


The “I Have a Dream” speech and the work that Martin Luther King Jr. achieved laid out a path for change and also exposed the grievances of Americans who hadn’t ever had a voice in centuries, he began his speech with the words, “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation,” and it was able to do just that.