Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Saylor Macke, Writer

“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back,” said Martin Luther King, jr. (MLK) in his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. MLK was an American civil rights activist who spoke out and worked to end racism in the United States. On the third Monday of January, Mr. King is remembered for his legacy and his impact nationwide today.

On Monday, January 17th, 2022, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was celebrated by giving people a day off to volunteer and improve their communities. According to the newsletter, International Business Times, “MLK day is observed on a Monday because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, enacted in 1971. Each January, the day is celebrated on the third Monday of the month. The day is honored nationwide by having a day off work or school. It is thought of as a ‘Day On, Not a Day Off.’”
According to Britannica’s article, “Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. King came from a family of ministry, as both his father and grandfather were Baptist preachers. He attended Morehouse College at age 15 from 1944 to 1948. At Morehouse, King excelled in medicine and law, but as he neared the end of college, he decided to enter the ministry. In the following years, King spent time at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. King was a preeminent man who eventually got elected as the president of Crozer’s student body that included many white students. After attending Crozer, King went on to receive a doctorate in 1955 from Boston University. While in Boston, King met his wife, Coretta Scott, who was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1953 King and Scott were married with four children. King was the pastor of the small church in Montgomery, Alabama where people thought King portrayed an intelligent man who had a professional standing.”

In December of 1955, Rosa Parks, who was a woman of color, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. Avery Barber, eighth grader, said, “I knew both King and Rosa Parks spoke out about civil rights in the mid 1900s and their actions sparked protests.” People from around the city formed a group to boycott, choosing King as their leader. King took action as the voice of the Civil Rights Movement and began speaking around the country about racism. His lectures sparked marches, strikes, and rallies.

Martin Luther King Jr. is mostly known for his speech titled “I Have a Dream.” In a recent survey from the middle school, it was shown that many students remembered King’s actions and his “I Have a Dream” speech. Macy Hargis, eighth grader said, “I remember Martin Luther mostly from his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech.’ I also know that he worked hard for people of color to be treated fairly.” At school MLK Day is hardly recognized and some students think it’s just a day off. Ellie Jacoby, seventh grader, said, “King made a huge difference in today’s world by fighting for people’s civil rights.” Out of 208 students surveyed 99% of students agree that MLK should be celebrated with a day off. Overall King made a huge difference nationwide and is recognized for his outstanding efforts to make things right between all people.

According to Kingsinstitute.stanford.ed, “At 6:05 P.M. on Thursday, 4 April, 1968, Martin Luther
King was shot dead while standing on a balcony outside his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.” The shooter was a man named James Earl Ray, a 40-year-old escaped fugitive, later confessed to the crime and was sentenced to a 99-year prison term. A few days after his sentence, Ray recanted his testimony and said he was innocent. He claimed he was framed by another person. Despite many attempts to overturn the 99 year prison term, James Earl Ray died in prison in 1998.
The day before he died, Mr. King prophesied his own death in one of the last public speeches he made entitled “The Mountaintop Speech.” He said, “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” He died from a gunshot.

All in all, Mr. King was determined to make a difference in the world. He was willing to speak out while others were afraid. As a result, he had thousands supporting him and agreeing to stop putting one class of citizens above another. Mr. King will be remembered for his efforts and leadership.