Why Do We Celebrate MLK Day?


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McKenna Moon

Martin Luther King Day is all about celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s achievements, everything that he did for our nation, and honoring his memorable life.  This national holiday started on January 20, 1986. Martin Luther King Jr.’s unforgettable life started on January 15, 1929 and his life unfortunately ended on April 4, 1968. In the years after King’s death, he remained the most widely known African American leader of his time. King’s stature as a major historical figure was confirmed by the successful campaign to establish a national holiday in his honor in the United States. Many states and nations have enhanced this holiday by authorising public statues and paintings of him, and naming streets, schools, and other entities for him. These efforts to honor King have been focused more on his role as a civil rights advocatie than on his controversial speeches, during his final year, condemning American intervention in Vietnam and calling for the Poor People’s campaign. MLK Day is observed every year on the third Monday of January, (January 17 this year). King was an influential civil rights leader and activist, best known for his work on racial equality and ending racial segregation in the United Sates. His work has been remembered and celebrated on this momentous day. 


On history.com it states, On September 20, 1958, Izola Ware Curry walked into a Harlem department store where King was signing books and asked, ‘Are you Martin Luther King?’ When he replied ‘yes,’ she stabbed him in the chest with a knife. King survived, and the attempted assassination only reinforced his dedication to nonviolence: ‘The experience of these last few days has deepened my faith in the relevance of the spirit of nonviolence if necessary social change is peacefully to take place.’ ”


While King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is the most well known piece of his writing, he was also an author of multiple books. Those books include; “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story,” “Why We Can’t Wait,” “Strength to Love,” “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” and, “Trumpet of Conscience” with a foreword by Coretta Scott King. 


Vice Principal Mr. Flores says, “It is a day that we put aside to celebrate Martin Luther King’s life and more importantly the difference he made for helping African Americans and other groups who discriminated against the way he helped them gain more rights and more respect. He did a lot to help African Americans and influenced a lot of people to think positively. In my opinion, one of the ways that he impacted people was through his style of communication. He was also a great writer and so he was able to use his words to create a clear message and help people to empower others to stand up to what was wrong. Often, I think people don’t know how to do that. A lot of people who weren’t racist and didn’t discriminate didn’t know how to stand up for what was right and empowered a lot of people not just African Americans but people with different races to come together and unite to stand up for what is right and I think he did that through his words.”


Some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quotes:

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
  • “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  • “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
  • “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”
  • “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”