Holland Ramos, Writer

Every year on the third Monday of January, the United States honors Martin Luther King Jr. for all of his achievements and accomplishments he’s made for us all. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day didn’t become a federal holiday until late 1986, which was nearly 20 years after it was proposed to be a National day to Congress by the King Center. MLK day because nationally recognized in  2000 after a long battle. 

In the year 1969, on January 15th,  annual ceremonies commemorating King’s birthday were launched by The King Center in Atlanta, which is an official memorial dedicated to remembering MLK. It called for nationwide ceremonies and began working to gain support for the holiday.

Martin Luther King, Jr is known for his contributions to the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. His most famous work is his “I Have a Dream” speech, that was spoken in 1963. 

In MLK “I have a dream” speech he spoke of his dreams of world where  the United States that is free of segregation and racism. This speech was important in several ways. It brought an incredible amount of attention to the Civil Rights Movement, which had been going on for many years. The outcome of the speech was the name Martin Luther King was known to the world and was not easily forgotten. The speech even made Congress move faster in passing the Civil Rights Act.

Throughout King’s long life of fighting for what’s right, he had also become a target for white supremacists many times. On September 20,1958, a group firebombed his family home in order to try and out an end to King’s activism.

In September 20, 1958, Izola Ware Curry walked into a Harlem department store where King was doing a book signing and asked him, “Are you Martin Luther King?” When he replied “yes,” she stabbed him in the chest with a knife. King survived, and the attempted assassination proved his dedication to nonviolence.

“The experience of these last few days has deepened my faith in the relevance of the spirit of nonviolence, if necessary social change is peacefully to take place,” said King.

After a life of fighting, Martin Luther King Jr was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, at 6:01 p.m. CST. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he died at 7:05 p.m.

At ILS, upholding the social justice ideals presented by Dr. King has been a major part of campus life. Many clubs on campus have a social justice agenda, including clubs like SALTT. Dr. King’s push for racial equality is incredibly valuable and his work needs to continue.