Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 18th)

, par Gaël Manescau

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States national holiday marking the birthdate of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is observed annually on the third Monday of January, around the time of his birthday, January 15.
This year, MLK Day will be on Monday January 19, 2015 (Observed).
The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honour began soon after his assassination in April 1968. Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed in 1986. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15 1929, Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister in Montgomery, Alabama, when, in December 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus and was arrested. King then organized a boycott of the transport system until segregation in buses was abolished in 1956. Encouraged by this victory, King, a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of non-violent civil disobedience, founded the Southern Christian Leadership in 1957 and became the leader of the Civil Rights movement.
Non-violent resistance to segregation (demonstrations, marches, boycotts, sitins) culminated on August 28th, 1963 with the March on Washington to demand equality for all citizens. 200,000 black and white people listened to King’s speech, “I have a dream”. This march had such an impact on national opinion that the Civil Rights Act was voted by the US Congress in 1964, making any form of racial discrimination illegal.
The same year, Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
From then on, King asked for a “reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values” and spoke out against the Vietnam War, black poverty, ghettos...
On April 4th, 1968, he was assassinated by a white supremacist in Memphis, Tennessee.

Presidential Proclamation by Barack Obama—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 14, 2011)

Martin Luther King Day on the « Café Pédagogique » website

Martin Luther King day on the net

Martin Luther King and Martin Luther King Day in the press :

In the Seattle Times :


The life of Martin Luther King Jr.

An interactive quiz about Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

In Time magazine

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Center

Related event :

President-elect Barack Obama speaks at a free concert (Jan. 18, 2009) celebrating his upcoming inauguration on the eve of Martin Luther King Day.

Obama’s speech

Related websites for kids :

  • January 17, 2011 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Learn about Dr. King’s life and legacy and celebrate with games, clip art, coloring pages and crafts.
    Click here !
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Day Activities, coloring pages, crafts for kids, word searches...
    Click here !


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