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“Everybody can be great because everyone can serve.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Each January, we honor and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1983, Legislation marked the birthday of Dr. King as a federal holiday. But in 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service. Each year, on the third Monday of January, we are all encouraged to look at Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthdate as a “day on, not a day off.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. In 1948, he received a BA degree from Morehouse College, at the age of 19. He was awarded a BD degree after three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary.
Shortly after, he became the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He was always a strong advocate of civil rights, so he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as a member of the executive committee. In early December 1955, he accepted leadership as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott lasted a total of 382 days. On December 21, 1956, the Supreme Court of the United States declared bus segregation as unconstitutional. From that point on, people of all races rode the bus together as equals.
In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a newly created organization that was formed to provide leadership for the civil rights movement. In the next eleven years, Dr. King would travel over six million miles and give over 2500 speeches. Meanwhile, he wrote five books as well as several articles and led enormous peaceful protests. He may be most known for leading the 1963 march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people and delivering his “I Have A Dream” speech. During his lifetime, he was arrested more than 25 times, awarded five honorary degrees and was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, he was shot. He died on April 4.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all. The Day of Service is intended for engaging in community action that works to solve social problems. Service has an incredible ability to unite people of all ages and backgrounds while building stronger communities.
Honor the memory of Dr. King on Monday, January 21, by choosing to serve. Looking for a new service project? You need to see the Lions Club’s complete list of ideas for families. What project will you and your club start next? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
Happy MLK Day of Service from Lions Pride!