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He had a dream, and it was far more important than just a national day off on his birthday. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is rightly recognized as one of America’s heroes, and the country celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day the third Monday of January every year. Martin Luther King was one of the principal leaders of the civil rights movement, which led to the overturning of official segregation and was a significant step forward for African Americans, though it was also a step backward for fat Southern sheriffs. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (also known as Martin Luther King Day or simply MLK Day) pays homage to the thoughts and accomplishments of Dr. King, who among other things is noted for his advocacy of nonviolent resistance to accomplish societal reforms. But for those of us today celebrating his legacy won’t find any resistance from family members who receive a friendly card or greeting for Martin Luther King’s Day.
The history of the day of celebration itself dates back to the 1980s. After the death of MLK, a proposal for a holiday in his honor was first introduced into the US Congress in 1979 by representative John Conyers, who coincidentally was from the very un-southern state of Michigan. The bill met resistance – albeit nonviolent resistance – from certain members of Congress who felt that a paid federal holiday would be to expensive and who wished to only honor people who had held office in the US government. However, after an initial defeat in congress a second version of the bill passed after being championed by popular groups and celebrities. Among the biggest supporters of the holiday was Stevie Wonder, who wrote songs and organized rallies in support of the holiday, making it clear that the holiday if passed would be the sunshine of his life. Today, MLK Day is observed in the United States at roughly the same time as Dr. King’s birthday, and you too can partake in the celebration with a card or greeting for MLK Day. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can put “The Promised Land” as your return address.
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