Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

On January 16th, we will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Kids know if as a day off of school, but do they about this Civil Rights leader?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a black clergyman who was is ranked among the greatest of black Americans, was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929.  He never backed down in his stand against racism and dedicated his life to achieving equality and justice for all Americans of all colors.  King believed that peaceful refusal to obey unjust laws were the best way to bring about social change.  Preaching nonviolence, he spoke and campaigned tirelessly to ride the US of traditions and laws that kept black Americans as second class citizens.  Among these laws were those in some states that required black people to take back seats on buses or which obstructed voting.

In the 1950s and 60s, Dr. King and many black people, especially college students, used boycotts, marches, and other forms of nonviolent protest to demand equal treatment under the law and end racial prejudice.  A high point of this civil rights movement came on August 28, 1963, when more than 200,000 people of all races gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. say: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveholders will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood….I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Not long after this historic speech, the US Congress passes laws prohibiting discrimination in voting, education, employment, housing, and public accommodations. The world was shocked when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, and ever since special memorial services have marked his birthday.  By vote of Congress, the third Monday of every January, beginning in 1986, is now a federal holiday to honor him and his legacy.

To learn more about this amazing man, follow the links below. Be sure to share what you learn with your kids https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/history/martin-luther-king-jr httpss://www.brainpop.com/socialstudies/famoushistoricalfigures/martinlutherkingjr/ https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/ https://projects.seattletimes.com/mlk/

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