On Monday, the country celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the most visible leader of the American civil rights movement. King was a proponent of nonviolence and led the movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
While many communities have canceled their in-person events or parades due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, there are several virtual events happening Monday to honor Dr. King.
One way is to watch the 17-minute inspirational ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, which Dr. King delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Aug. 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
At the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, there will be a special virtual celebration at noon and 6 p.m., CST. Learn more at King Day | National Civil Rights Museum
Other events include:
Jan. 17 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET
Martin Luther King Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative Service Broadcasting on FOX5, streaming on The King Center YouTube, Facebook, and its website at: thekingcenter.org
Camden County, Georgia
The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Walk will begin at 10 a.m. at the First African Baptist Church of Kingsland, Georgia, and end at the Lion’s Club Park.
Carlsbad, New Mexico
A church observance will be held Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church. On Jan. 17 at 10:30 a.m., a march will start at the Eddy County Courthouse and go to the Martin Luther King Park. There will be a ceremony featuring a presentation by local attorney Nate Banks, Esq., whose father participated in the civil rights marches with Dr. King.
The MLK Day Observance will take place virtually Jan. 17, from 6 to 7 p.m. The event will feature keynote speaker Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X.
National Park Service
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., the National Park Service sites will waive entrance fees Monday, Jan. 17, as the first fee-free day of the year. The day is also one of service when hundreds of volunteers participate in service projects at parks across the country. This is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. Find volunteer opportunities at national parks inspired by this day of service.
Other ideas to remember Dr. King
Watch documentaries or movies about Dr. King. The ‘Eyes on the Prize’ and ‘Selma’ are excellent ways to reflect on Dr. King’s contributions to America.
Seven lesser-known facts about Martin Luther King, Jr.
- His birth name was Michael
The civil rights leader was given the name Michael King Jr. at birth—later, his father changed his own name as well as of his son to Martin Luther, after the Protestant Reformation leader.
- King started college at the age of 15
King skipped grades 9 and 12 and enrolled at Morehouse College in 1944.
- ‘I Have a Dream’ was not his first speech
Six years before his iconic speech at Lincoln Memorial, King spoke during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957.
- There was another attempt to assassinate King
In 1958, a woman walked into a 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. 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.”
- King was imprisoned a lot
According to the King Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. went to jail 29 times.
- King was extremely busy
From 1957 to 1968, King traveled over 6 million miles and spoke over 2,500 times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles.
- His last public speech foreshadowed his death
In his last speech the night before he was assassinated, King said, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now, 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.”
Below are some links that provide more information on Dr. King and his legacy.