Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday that celebrates the life and legacy of one of the world’s most important civil rights leaders. Dr. King brought a message of hope and healing to America, and the holiday that bears his name is a celebration of his immeasurable contribution to humankind, as well as a celebration of those who continue his work to dismantle institutionalized racism. He is remembered for his campaigns to promote and implement racial and class equality in the United States, and for his famous address, the “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in 1963. Dr. King was an advocate of non-violent protest and civil disobedience, and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King was assassinated, a bill was introduced by the trade unions to establish a federal holiday that was endorsed in 1976. Following much public support that included a petition with six million signatures, and a hit single, “Happy Birthday,” by singer, songwriter, and musician Stevie Wonder, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although it was not observed in all states until the year 2000. Martin Luther King will be remembered as one of America’s most important civil rights leaders.
Burg Simpson remembers Dr. King’s legacy and his unwavering commitment to righting inequality and pursuing social justice.