Martin Luther King Jr Day: Why is the US civil rights leader still relevant even after 54 years of his death?

Martin Luther King Jr. Day also reminds the world that much more effort is needed to achieve racial equality and equal rights for minorities

FP Trending January 17, 2022 06:04:38 IST
Martin Luther King Jr Day: Why is the US civil rights leader still relevant even after 54 years of his death?

Martin Luther King Jr Day is celebrated in the United States on the third Monday of January every year. In 2022, the day will be marked on 17 January. The day marks the birth anniversary of the great leader and honours his achievements.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day also reminds the world that much more effort is needed to achieve racial equality and equal rights for minorities.

Martin Luther King Jr was one of the most influential civil rights leaders in the United States. He is remembered for his efforts on towards ending racial segregation in the US.

Who was Martin Luther King Jr?
Martin Luther King Jr was born in on 15 January, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. Inspired by both Mahatma Gandhi and Christian values, King embarked on the path of non-violence to achieve racial equality in the US. The great leader is remembered for advancing civil rights by leading non-violent protests and civil disobedience campaigns.

King marched for the right of Black people to vote, labour rights, desegregation and other civil rights.

In 1955, Dr King’s peaceful struggle against racial discrimination gained national attention when he led a boycott protesting segregation on buses. He was jailed and attacked for raising his voice against the issue. Martin Luther King Jr received death threats and his house was even bombed as he continued to work towards racial desegregation.
In large part due to the effort of activists such as Dr King, the US Supreme Court deemed such segregationist laws unconstitutional in 1956.

Dr King is still remembered for his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 to a crowd of over 250,000 on the National Mall in Washington D.C, USA.

At the age of 35, King became the youngest man to win the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in October 1964 for his efforts to achieve racial equality. He was assassinated on 4 April, 1968. After his death, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the US Congressional Gold Medal .

Celebrations:
The 40th President of the US, Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, after activists pushed for his Dr King's birthday to be declared a national holiday.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day is regarded as a federal holiday in the US, meaning many government offices remain closed on the day. Many people volunteer their time with organisations that promote racial equality.

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