A history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and where to celebrate around Central Florida.
Only four days after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, efforts began to commemorate his life with a national holiday around his birthday. It took 11 years before it was brought to the House of Representative’s floor for a vote. At that time, it fell five votes short of reaching the two-thirds majority requirement for becoming a federal holiday.
Celebrities like Stevie Wonder and politicians such as former President Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy pushed for the holiday’s approval. In 1983 that approval came when the House passed the bill by 53 votes. All 50 states recognized King’s birthday as a federal holiday by 2000 – 32 years after the idea was first presented.
While King’s birthday is Jan. 15, 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is always celebrated on the third Monday in January. The following quotes represent what he fought for in life and what is remembered on this federal holiday each year.
1. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
2. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
3. “The time is always right to do what is right.”
4. “Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
5. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Here is how you can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Orlando on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.
Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast
First Baptist Church of Orlando – Faith Hall
3000 S John Young Pkwy., Orlando 32805
Parramore Clean-up Service Project/Great Day of Service
8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Florida A&M University College of Law
201 Beggs Ave., Downtown Orlando 32801
Seedlings for Civil Rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. volunteering
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Arbor Day celebration
Northwest Neighborhood Center
3955 WD Judge Dr., Orlando 32808
Downtown Orlando MLK Holiday Parade
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Downtown Orlando Courthouse to Lake Eola Park
425 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32801
Unity Heritage Festival
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Corner of Pennsylvania and New England Avenues in Winter Park
City of Ocoee’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Parade
Citrus Elementary School
87 N Clarke Rd., Ocoee, FL 34761
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Celebration
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Oviedo High School
601 King St., Oviedo, FL 32765
Dr. Martin Luther King Vigil
Rollins College – Tiedtke Concert Hall
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789