4 Things you may not know about Martin Luther King
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Martin Luther King Day celebrates Dr King’s birthday annually on the third Monday of January. Although his birthday was on January 15, the framework for federal and state-passage guarantees it falls outside a weekend and provides Americans with a day off. The holiday only gives working Americans a day off, but Dr King’s message provided a human rights example other countries recognise, and Express.co.uk has compiled a guide on how to celebrate.
Martin Luther King Day is one of several national holidays assigned by the US government to celebrate national civil rights figureheads.
They did not come without struggle and sacrifice, and people can take the day to recognise that.
Many of the issues Dr King and his contemporaries worked to expose and rectify in the mid-20th century remain rife in modern society.
Modern civil rights leaders continue to target overt and systemic racism black and other non-white people face nearly 60 years after he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.
The only way to flush out remaining prejudices and barriers for People of Colour, activists argued, is for everyone to understand the injustices they face.
People should start with widely available anti-racism resources compiled by Journey to Justice, Show Racism the Red Card and the NAACP.
Gather and discuss
Dr King envisioned a world where people worked together to implement change, and a vital aspect of this is discussion.
Martin Luther King Day presents an ideal opportunity to ignite conversations about his message and how it applies today.
Several countries that observe the occasion outside of the US hold official gatherings.
Two cities, Hiroshima in Japan and Wassenaar in the Netherlands, hold tributes and dinners to commemorate Dr King.
In Hiroshima, the mayor attends a banquet, while veteran civil rights activists in Wassenaar hold a dinner and perform “We Shall Overcome”.
People should try to gather within Covid rules, ensuring they keep rooms ventilated and contact at a minimum as Omicron remains a threat.
Watch the “I Have a Dream” speech
The message contained in Dr King’s landmark speech is just as vital in 2022 as it was in 1963.
However, in the 1960s, television was not as widespread as it is now, and many people went without hearing it.
In the 21st century, anyone can watch it, as the video is now available on most streaming platforms.
People need not take much time out of their day, as the entire speech is roughly five minutes long.
Visit Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
Dr King’s influence spread everywhere, and occasionally he would undertake world tours.
He first set foot in London in 1961 to spread his activism by undergoing TV interviews and attending an anti-apartheid rally.
His first stop, however, was to the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church.
The church, located on Shaftesbury Avenue, remains a centre for “activist spirit” more than 60 years after his visit.
“Visit” the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis
Martin Luther King Day celebrates Dr King’s life and works, but people must also remember his death.
A gunman assassinated him on April 4, 1968, outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
That motel became a permanent monument to the leader in 1991 as a museum.
Curators have built a collection of civil rights memorabilia, such as a replica of a bus destroyed by white supremacists during the famed Freedom Rides.
People not within range of the physical location can take an online tour via its website.
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