The King's Page

San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

The King's Page

The King's Page

Dr. King’s Day

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While students settle back in after a long three weeks off, everyone is looking for the next holiday break. Fortunately for those searching, there is a fast-approaching three-day weekend to ease your mind. Across the world, every third Monday in January is reserved for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday to reflect upon and celebrate the life and legacy of the famous civil rights activist and Baptist minister from Georgia. This year, the holiday falls on January 15 and it is hoped that all of the San Marcos community will take the time to recognize it. 

Martin Luther King Jr. or Michael Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. Throughout the early years of his life, Dr. King was rich with education. He received a B.A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College in Georgia, then studied theology at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of his predominantly white senior class and awarded his B.D. in 1951, and finally enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University receiving his degree in 1955. After university, and throughout the next decade of his life, Dr. King would become one of the most profound faces in the movement. After being elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement, he traveled over six million miles speaking over twenty-five hundred times. Wherever there was injustice, protest, or action, there was Dr. King. Most famously, he directed the peaceful march on Washington D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his infamous, “I Have a Dream” speech. Throughout this time, he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four, awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, and became the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Finally, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march. It is important to understand Dr. King’s history as no figure is more closely identified with the mid-20th century struggle for civil rights. His adoption of nonviolent resistance to achieve equal rights for Black Americans impacted the world immensely.

The Holiday itself, however, did not come into existence till November 2, 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed what is formally known as the King Holiday Bill into law. However, the process of recognizing this holiday was far from an easy one. At the time, only two other figures had national holidays in their honor: George Washington and Christopher Columbus. The legislation was first introduced just four days after his assassination in 1968, but it was not until 15 years of persistence by civil rights activists that the holiday was signed into effect and another 17 years for it to be recognized in all fifty states. Today, it is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service, encouraging all Americans to volunteer and improve their communities. 

Within the San Marcos community, many understand and promote his importance. Mr. Ohrn, a history teacher believes, “Dr. King was a selfless advocate for the rights of others. His model of peaceful protests and civil disobedience sets an example for anyone who seeks to bring change to society. But even more than that he backed up his words with actions, not for his own benefit but to help others. That is worth celebrating.”

With this in mind, there are many things that you can do to honor this man and participate in the National Day of service. In Santa Barbara as a whole, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara is an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the Santa Barbara community. It is this committee that has organized a unity march from State St to the Arlington Theater at 10 a.m. Monday, January 15 to march in King’s honor. From there the Arlington Theater will also be offering live music and choirs, essay and poetry readings, and much more. Because the day is also a national day of service, another way you can honor Dr. King is by engaging with your community, acting on Dr. King’s legacy of social justice and equity, and recommitting by volunteering to serve others no matter how that might be. 

As said by Dr. King himself, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So today and henceforth, remember Dr. King’s legacy and fight for everything he fought for.

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About the Contributor
Baylie Bingham, Sports & Social Media Editor
Baylie is a junior at San Marcos High School. This is her third year doing the King's Page, first as a staff writer, then as graphics editor, and now as sports editor as well as social media. She loves to write about politics, the environment, and local events in both San Marcos and Santa Barbara as a whole.
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