Third Monday of January every year is observed by the United States of America’s Department of States and a few other embassies as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

On Monday, 17th of January this year, the Department of States and most embassies will be closed down in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day which calls on individuals intending to visit the embassies to reschedule their visits.

This commomeration which has been on for the past 28 years since after the death of this great social activist the world has ever known, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while making a speech from the balcony of his Motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest match in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city and since then, his birthday became a National Holiday by an act of Congress 1983.

For the short period he lived, MLK, travelled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest and action.

He led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, which caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a ‘Coalition of Conscience’.

The great academician, born January 15, 1929, planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters, also directed a peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250 people to whom he delivered his address, ‘I Have a Dream’. Conferring with former President of the US, John F Kennedy, he campaigned for President Lyndon B Johnson. King was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times. He was awarded with five honorary degrees and was named the Man of the Year in 1963 and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks, but also a world figure.

For his involvement in the actualization of Human Rights, King was the youngest then to have received the Noble Peace Prize at the age of 35, and announced that he would turn over the Prize money which was worth $54,123 to the furtherance of the Civil Rights Movement.

Though King is remembered every third Monday in January, a few like Dave Emory who did an overview on the assassination of Martin Luther King is of the opinion that ‘when you allow a man to be murdered with impunity, when you will not show any substantive interest in who did the killing, it is grotesque.

I think it is really grotesque to name a holiday after somebody, celebrate a holiday after somebody, when you can’t, you won’t look into someone’s murder.’ If he were to be alive today, Dr. Martin Luther King would have been celebrating his 82nd birthday amidst greater achievements.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.