MLK Day: A day on, not a day off

Every third Monday of January, Americans celebrate the birthday of Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr. This holiday was first celebrated in 1986, and Congress designated it a national day of service in 1994. The Corporation for National & Community Service refers to the holiday as “A day on, not a day off”.

According to the National Civil Rights Museum, “The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encompasses influential decisions, monumental actions and steadfast progressions of humanitarian rights that reach far beyond the civil rights movement.”

Dr. King emphasized the importance of nonviolent resistance and the power of words to achieve equality African-Americans in the United States. Because of his achievements, Dr. King is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor.

On MLK Day, people around the country take part in community service projects and events. It is also a popular day to learn about Dr. King’s legacy. The King Center, located in Atlanta, began events days before the holiday that will continue until January 20. A full list of events at the King Center can be found here.

The Eternal Flame at the King Center symbolizes the continuing effort to realize Dr. King’s dream of the “Beloved Community”. [Source: Marian Pimpleton]

There is an abundance of events for MLK Day planned in Atlanta. Here is a list of events on January 20:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day @ the Atlanta History Center
  • MLK Day 5k Drum Run @ Piedmont Park
  • MLK Day for Kids @ the Children’s Museum of Atlanta
  • MLK Volunteer: Day in the Dirt @ Loridans Park
  • Commerative Service @ Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade/Peace March in Downtown McDonough
  • MLK Day Art and Film Festival @ City Springs
  • A list of more events can be found here and here!

Dr. King’s legacy is important to the history of the United States. Even though you have a day off of school or work, remember that this holiday is “a day on, not a day off,”!

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