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A Look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and where to celebrate around Central Florida.

A Look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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
7:45 a.m.
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
10 a.m.
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
6 p.m.
Rollins College – Tiedtke Concert Hall
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789


Lyndsay Fogarty Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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