Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Jefferson

Tell us what this holiday means to you and how you will celebrate.

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For some, the national holiday honoring the prominent civil rights activist is a time to give back and serve the community, be it through removing graffiti or picking up litter in a local park.

For others, it’s an opportunity to educate themselves about King and his life's work. And for others, it’s a time to just kick back and enjoy the prolonged weekend.

Normal business will be happening throughout Jefferson on the holiday. The Jefferson Township Public Library will be open and offering programs, such as Songs and Stories at 11 a.m.

Jefferson schools will be in session as the district has decided to use Monday and Presidents Day (Feb. 18) as makeup days for school days used following Superstorm Sandy. The Jefferson Board of Education will meet publicly at 8 p.m. at the high school.

The Holiday's History

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now a U.S. holiday, took 15 years to create.

Legislation was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) four days after King was assassinated in 1968.

The bill was stalled, but Conyers, along with Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York), pushed for the holiday every legislative session until it was finally passed in 1983, following civil rights marches in Washington. 

Then-president Ronald Reagan signed it into law. Yet it was not until 2000 that every U.S. state celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by its name. Before then, states like Utah referred to the holiday more broadly as Human Rights Day. 

Now, the Corporation for National and Community Service has declared it an official U.S. Day of Service.

TELL US: What does MLK Day mean to you? Tell us in the comments.

Bruce January 21, 2013 at 01:26 AM
MLK Day reminds me of what a big step we as a country took back in the 1960's, driven by this man's beliefs, example and leadership, but it also reminds me (and saddens me) that we still have a long way to go regarding racially equality in this country. I often wonder if MLK would be proud or disappointed in us as a society if he were alive today. I'm quite sure he would say it's a good start, but there's a lot more work to be done!


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