That time is upon us, where we get a Monday off from classes and the campus events reflect a time of social upheaval and change.
Martin Luther King Day, according to mlk.gov, is “a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.”
The site also says the “MLK Day of Service” helps strengthen communities, create solutions to social issues and “moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community.”
But there’s more to the day, and the man, then either of those statements. Remembering Dr. King’s message is an important part of the day as well.
More than just equal rights, Dr. King represented peaceful change to social and cultural deficiencies. At a time when the response to the equal rights movement could be incredibly violent, he advocated peaceful solutions to get the equality he knew everyone deserved.
These ideals can be lost on a modern audience. However, that doesn’t mean his lessons are lost, or even the meaning of the day itself.
Attending special events on or off campus during the day reminds us of what Dr. King believed in and what he worked for.
College students by nature tend to volunteer a lot, carrying on his “Day of Service” all year round, in both practice and sentiment, seeking to make their adopted college home area a better community.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of change, equality, and peace. The youngest earner of the Nobel Peace Prize, when his work in civil rights tapered off he took to speaking against Vietnam and poverty. He was an orator and a writer, and very good at both. His beliefs, as mentioned before, are reflected in the sentiment of the day dedicated to those beliefs and the man.
Whether his work at Birmingham, the Montgomery bus boycott, or the massive march to Washington, DC, his life and his work
are worth remembering and exemplifying. His life, though, was just one aspect of an important part of American history.
The Civil Rights Movement was a dark time in American history, one of many. During that time, many people are remembered for what they did.
Why does Dr. King stand out among the others? Are we neglectful in failing to remember the other activists, or are we merely combining them all under the banner of a single man, a man who worked with those other activists?
Probably. Either way, the point of the day is to keep Dr. King’s ideals of community activism and social change alive. When we do these things in our daily lives, we bring the spirit of MLK Day with us; like Christmas, but without the lights.
Whether helping maintain your local community, attending a seminar about the man or the civil rights movement, or just thinking back about the long struggle for equality, these are the points of the day.
Remembering that is just as important as remembering Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and the struggles of American history. So volunteer, attend a seminar, read a book, or not. Either way, the point of the day lives on.