BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January, to remind us of the importance of fighting for equality, rights and freedom, and although this day is of national and international importance, many people do not know why.
To begin with, it is vital to know who was Martin Luther King, Jr. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was the nation’s most prominent leader in the 20th century struggle for civil rights. He was born in the segregated south of Atlanta, Georgia, and after graduating from Morehouse College, Crozeer Theological Seminary, and Boston University, he entered the Christian ministry. He married Coretta Scott King in 1953, and became a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1954, he joined the leadership of the local NAACP chapter, the Montgomery improvement Association, and helped create the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization formed to provide leadership for the burgeoning civil rights movement  ”
The National Museum of African American History and Culture tells us five curious facts about Dr. King  :
- Martin Luther King, Jr. was named after Protestant reformer Martin Luther.
- King entered college when he was 15years old.
- King was arrested 29 times.
- King survived an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
- After his death, the King family filed a civil case against the government and won.
In addition, we must contextualize: “During the early 20th century, African-Americans in some southern states lived under a set of laws called Jim Crow laws. The Jim Crow laws meant that black Americans were required to live separately from white Americans and they were treated effectively as second-class citizens. Blacks were not allowed to eat at the same restaurants, live in the same neighborhoods or even ride in the same section of public buses as white Americans  .
That is why “studies of King continue to acknowledge his distinctive leadership role. For example, though he often downplayed his contribution to the Montgomery bus boycott, King’s inspirational leadership and his speeches helped to transform a local protest over bus seating into a historically important event. More generally, studies of King have suggested that his most significant contribution to the modern African American freedom struggle was to link Black inspirations to transcendent widely democratic and Christian ideals”.
In conclusion, “Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the famous American civil rights leader who dedicated his life to achieving equality for people of all colors. Dr. King’s message of peace and justice touched many Americans. The national holiday that commemorates him is a time to learn history and reflect on valuable teaching that are still meaningful today  ”.