What is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?


BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Each year on the third Monday of January the United States observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Several events were held in the late Dr. King’s honor over the weekend in the Panhandle. Many took the time to acknowledge how essential King’s influence has been throughout the years.

“The Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday is a day that is designed to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge gaps, create solutions to social problems and bring us all closer to fulfilling King’s dream of the beloved community,” Dr. Rufus L. Wood, Jr., Bay County NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), said.

According to National Today, the holiday was first observed on January 20, 1986. It was moved to being observed on the third Monday of January rather than King’s birthday. It follows the guidelines of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

“The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s time on Earth was limited to 39 years. The Civil Rights Movement 13 years. Oh, what a difference he made in the world. Dr. King used his time to bring about positive change in America and the world,” Wood said.

Some would say King was a man of many talents, during his time alive he served as a preacher, an orator, a theologian, a scholar, an author a humanitarian, and even a civil rights activist. King’s influence has even inspired organizations.

“Our organization is built on a quote from Dr. King which states, ‘Power without love, is reckless and abusive. And love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implemented in the demands of justice and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love’,” Jamil Davis, Black Voters Matter North Florida Regional Organizer, said.

Davis was one of several guest speakers to participate in a virtual zoom discussion honoring King while discussing the state of voting rights in America and election law.

For those that did not know the holiday was signed into law by former President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983.

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