Martin Luther King Jr. Day


President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. standing directly behind the President.

Kristin Avery, Reporter

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day, Warriors!

      Martin Luther King Jr. day marks the birthday of its namesake, who was an icon for civil rights all through his life. The holiday was first observed on January 20, 1986 under Ronald Reagan, 57 years after Martin Luther King Jr. was born. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered when he was at the age of 34, five years before the civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His numerous accomplishments and contributions to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s include the organization of the March on Washington, which motivated other protests and ultimately led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. King was also a minister of a Baptist church in Georgia for six years, and in 1964 became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

      There are dozens of popular activities and events around the country for Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2019, with Americans coming together to celebrate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader. Here are some held in Colorado.

  1. The Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Marade’ (march and parade) in downtown Denver began at 9:00 am today, and has been an annual event since the 1980s, when it was made a national holiday by President Reagan. Coloradans from around the state will come together to march from the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial to Civic Center park.
  2. The African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions coincides with the National Western Stock Show is held at the Denver Colliseum at 6 pm on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event organizers were inspired by the holiday to show how African American cowboys and cowgirls impacted the west throughout history.
  3. On January 15th, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the Colorado Symphony held a free concert in his name, also honoring the recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.
  4. Shaun Boothe: The Unauthorized Biography Series will be held from January 23-24. Boothe is a recording artist and motivational speaker who will be telling the stories of cultural icons like Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammed Ali, and Malala Yousafzai through hip hop and spoken word.
  5. The Dvořák Symphony No. 9 held from January 18-20 featured three composers — Aaron Copland, Joseph Schwantner and Antonín Dvorák. The music shows the progression from the Civil War through Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement and on to modern day. Actor Damon Gupton brought the words of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. together with the symphony to paint a picture of history and the progression of civil rights in America.

      These monumental achievements only scratch the surface of all the sacrifices that King and all those like him made to the advancement of civil rights throughout the 1900’s, and only one day could never be enough to acknowledge where we’d be today without them.