This year marks 56 years since King, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient civil rights activist, was tragically assassinated. It’s a real betrayal to his life and legacy that voting rights is continuing to be an issue that’s under assault.
For many Americans, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is a day of public service, a time to volunteer in their communities. It’s also a day when many of us reflect on the legacy of the late civil rights leader.
Many of the senators opposing the voting rights bill have tweeted tributes to King. But as Dr. King’s family said before, it’s not enough to praise their father. They even said, on this holiday, don’t celebrate his birthday unless you’re willing to support what he lived for and what he died for. So those other pieces of what Dr. King stood for is something that we really do need to grapple with.
Here are 6 podcasts to listen to: https://www.npr.org/2023/01/13/1148690803/podcasts-mlk-martin-luther-king-jr-day
The effort to honor King finally succeeded when President Ronald Reagan eventually signed a bill in 1983 that added Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the list of federal holidays, commemorating King’s contribution to the civil rights movement. Still, it wasn’t officially observed until 1986.
In 1994, under then-President Bill Clinton, it became the only federal holiday dedicated to volunteerism, after Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act. Americans are encouraged to observe the day “with acts of civic work and community service” in honor of King’s legacy.
Let’s not forget that what Dr. King lived and died for is about more than one day of remembrance.