Only four days after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 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.”
Having a nation wide impact, Martin Luther King Jr. is remebered and honored not only nationally, but locally. As stated by the Orange County Regional History Center, MLK Jr. himself came to Orlando on March 6, 1964 to give his speech at Tinker Field. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be held January 20, 2020 in rememberence of his fight for racial equality not only in Orlando, but across America.
Here is how you can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Orlando on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
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
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. volunteering
Rock Lake Elementary School, 408 North Tampa Avenue, Orlando, FL 32805
Chasing the Dream 5K- MLK Day Celebration 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Blue Jacket Park, 2501 General Rees Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801
Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Great Day of Service 8:30 a.m. Callahan Neighborhood Center, 101 North Parramore Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801
City of Ocoee’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Parade
10 a.m. West Oaks Mall, 9401 West Colonial Drive, Ocoee, FL 34761
Martin Luther King, Jr. Reception 5:00 p.m. Rollins College – Galloway Room 1000 Holt Avenue, Orlando, FL 32789