Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On the 17th January it is Martin Luther King Day in America – a special day where people celebrate the civil rights hero.
For more than three decades, the third Monday in January has been dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and the amazing achievements that he made.

Who is Martin Luther King Jr?
Martin Luther King was an incredibly influential figure who helped shape America’s history. He was a civil rights activist who fought for racial equality. People all over America celebrate Martin Luther King Day. They usually use the time to reach out to their community and spend time together.

Why do people celebrate him?
On 28 August 1963 Dr Martin Luther King Jr marched to Washington DC – the capital of America – and delivered a ground-breaking speech in front of a crowd of thousands of people.

His 17-minute-long speech was called ‘I have a Dream’ and talked about living in a future where all people are equal, regardless of the colour of their skin.

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”

His speech went down in history, inspired millions of people, and helped to bring about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This Act ended the separation of people by race in public places and banned companies from not giving people a job on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin.

In 1964 Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning but four years later in 1968 he was shot and killed.

To remember his achievements, people in the US celebrate his memory on Martin Luther King Day by holding parades and giving people a day off work or school.

Why not try researching some of his achievements? Or watch is his moving speech ‘I have a Dream’?