Martin Luther King Day: Who and Why?


(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, AL – MAY 1956: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his wife Coretta and first child Yolanda in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr. The influential activist startled the nation with his endeavors to end racial discrimination and segregation during the late fifties and early sixties. His most notable speech, “I Have A Dream,” was spoken on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 

Martin Luther King Jr day is a federal holiday on the third Monday of January. This year MLK Jr day is on January 17th, 2022. The holiday celebrates the life and accomplishments of MLK, who was a very significant civil rights leader. He is most memorable for his active attempts to end racial discrimination utilizing peaceful tactics.Unfortunately, MLK was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Though most Americans view him as a hero and a martyr, MLK had a life and family of his own. 

MLK married Coretta Scott in 1953 at her parents house in Marion, Alabama. Together they raised 4 children, the oldest being Yolanda Denise King. She was born on November 17, 1955 and carried on her father’s legacy. She was a human rights activist and an actress. She was also a spokesperson for the National Stroke Awareness Association. Most importantly, she involved herself in projects that “paid tribute to her late father.” In the 1978 TV miniseries, King, which was based on King’s life, she played as Rosa Parks.

Coretta Scott King kept her late husband’s ideas and morals alive through her social rights activism that continued throughout the rest of her life, until her departure on January 30, 2006 at the age of 78. She strongly believed in not only the rights for gay marriage but also that, James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, wasn’t truly the killer.

His other three children went on to nominate Barack Obama, the first black president, and co-own the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. They worked as activists and carried on Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy. He would be extremely honored and proud of all of his children’s accomplishments.

Today, we honor Martin Luther King Jr. for his strength and courage he had shown through his actions. His speeches make a lasting impact on our country and are even spoken about in classrooms today. So while we have off Monday, take a minute to read more about Martin Luther King Jr. and the things he had done for this country all those years ago.