Five Facts About Martin Luther King Jr. Day

How much do you know about the civil rights leader?

On Jan. 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was born.

He was a man who would eventually become the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a renowned leader in the advancement of civil rights around the world.

Today, Jan. 16, we celebrate the birth of King as a day to promote equality among all people, regardless of background or ethnicity.

Among his best-known accomplishments, King was a chief motivator in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. He was the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and his beliefs in nonviolent activism reflected the work of Mahatma Gandhi.

Here’s a few lesser-known facts:

1. King is one of three people to have a federal holiday in his honor, the other two being George Washington and Christopher Columbus. Although the holiday celebrates King’s birthday, which was on Jan. 15, MLK Day is considered a floating holiday, and is always observed on the third Monday of January.

2. The original bill to make King’s birthday a federal holiday was introduced to Congress days after his death, but it didn’t pass until 1983. At the time, the main argument was that King never held public office, and that making a federal holiday based on a private citizen would break tradition. However, in 1983, Ronald Reagan signed the bill. In 1986 the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed.

3. Some states combine the observance of King’s birthday with other days. States like Arizona and New Hampshire combine MLK Day with Civil Rights Day, which is not recognized as a federal holiday. Others simultaneously observe Human Rights Day on King’s birthday, with the same belief -- equality for all. Some states, like Alabama and Arkansas, observe both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday on the third Monday in January.

4. King delivered his most famous address, the “I Have A Dream” speech, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. Considered to be one of the defining moments of the American Civil Rights Movement, King spoke for 17 minutes to more than 200,000 supporters, calling for an end to racial discrimination.

5. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn. James Earl Ray, the accused murderer, was arrested in London two months later. The efforts to make King’s birthday a holiday began almost immediately, but it was another 15 years -- and 6 million petition signatures -- before the bill was finally passed.

Author’s note: Information provided by timeanddate.com and factmonster.com.

Logical Libertarian January 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM
6. To say MLK had progressive views is an understatement. His beliefs were clearly rooted in Socialism and Communism. "You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry… Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism".-MLK 7. MLK had known ties to American Communist leaders, was under federal investigation by the FBI, and those files were sealed as top secret for 50 years by the liberal Kennedy administration. They will not be available until 2027.
Anthony Rando January 17, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Interesting viewpoint. However, the fact is that Dr. King was not known for advancements in socialist tactics or attempts to make America a Communist nation. He is remembered for the improvements in civil rights and equality that he helped make possible, and that is why we celebrate his birth every year. Also, FDR is well-known for his use of "socialist" means in his New Deal, which was crucial in pulling America out of the Great Depression. I imagine that MLK's intentions were similar.
Tom Coombe January 17, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Worth a read: "Hellhound on His Trail" by Hampton Sides, which follows MLK and James Earl Ray through the days before and after the assassination.
Arthur Joel Katz January 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Well Tommy, we all know that Ronald Reagan was famous for honoring socialists and communists. And since the files were sealed, if you are correct, by the "liberal Kennedy administration," presumably President Reagan had them available to him.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »