The hallmark of change was non-violent change. Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. championed a movement that became a world wide model for civil change.
Those that disagree with the direction the United States has taken in respect to rights note both the spirit and letter of the law, have often resorted to violence. Brandishing weapons, taking hostages, even threatening federal agents has become a familiar tactic. Especially among right-wing zealots. Who would imagine that the President of the United States would be heckled at a State of the Union Address? Well, it’s happened.
Not too long ago, the ideals of America were brought into graphic contrast by the non-violent civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. Many lost there lives at the hand of criminals with the full support and “cover” of local, state and federal law enforcement officials. Sworn agents of the system founded to be a beacon of justice in the world aided and abetted in lynchings, work discrimination, segregation, for that matter, a long list of civil and legal discrimination. What it takes to live, or what most American’s and indeed the world were lead to believe, a just and fair system of democracy and economy here in the United States, has seldom been reality. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness remains elusive.
Born in 1929, the celebration of what would have been the 87th birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is on January 18, 2016. For those who do not know why his birthday is special, the world was reminded of the true promise of America by a man and his team. The non-violent movement of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., punctuated with his assassination on April 4, 1968, took a much different path in the years to follow. That campaign changed America for the better.
The campaign for a federal holiday to honor Dr. King, began shortly after his death. Finally on November 2, 1983, the United States, a federal law was signed by Ronald Reagan to create the King Holiday. However, the state’s decision to observe the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a different matter. The Congressional bill to honor King was proposed several years before it’s signing, during President Carter’s administration, but the racist members of the U.S. Congress primarily from the South (Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina among others) found ways to stall the legislation.
The first time the King Holiday was celebrated on the third Monday of January in 1986.
Lastly, why not celebrate Dr. King’s birthday on the 15th of the month? The Uniform Monday Holiday Act signed into law on June 28, 1968 took effect on January 1, 1971. The Act moved several federal holidays that were on fixed dates to a designated Monday. We have celebrated on the third Monday of January, and have done so, for thirty years as of January 18, 2016, the birthday remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,