Recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day


On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed what is known as the King Holiday Bill into law. The bill designated the third Monday in January a federal holiday to reflect and remember the work of famous civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Best known for his work on racial equality and ending racial segregation in the United States, people all over the world now take the third Monday every year to remember the incredible things he achieved and fought for. 

Illustration courtesy of Baylie Bingham
The MLK Impact

At San Marcos High, students and faculty get the day off to honor the important day in U.S. history. This year Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be on January 17. This means that the holiday is fast approaching making it even more important to educate yourself on his life and legacy. King used nonviolent protest to achieve an incredible amount of things, his main goal being uniting people together to bring equal rights to the United States. He won a variety of different awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize and earned the respect of people everywhere. His leadership helped carve the path to better opportunities for both education and employment for African Americans. 

The legislation to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first introduced only four days after his assassination on April 4, 1968. However, this was no easy task. At the time, only two other figures had national holidays in their honor: George Washington and Christopher Columbus. It took around fifteen years of persistent civil rights activism for the holiday to simply be approved by the federal government, then another seventeen years to be approved by all fifty states. 

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Martin Luther King Jr. debuting his speech: ‘I Have A Dream’

Members of the San Marcos community interpreted the significance of his life in a variety of different ways. One opinion, Shakir Ahmad, a twelfth-grader at San Marcos and the president of the San Marcos Black Student Union said, “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day of reminder to individuals that they can make a change by closing the gaps between different demographics in order to build a stronger bond within their communities. Martin had a vision of the racial divide being brought together in unison. He empowered those around him, and continues to empower us today so we can create solutions to the social problems we encounter today.” This contributes to the idea that Martin Luther King Jr. incredibly impacted the world. Leaving many things to be pondered, and many things to still be done. This is why on January 17, his legacy should be remembered.