The Importance of Martin Luther King Day 

Just days ahead of Martin Luther King Day this year, Boston unveiled a new statue. I’m Zulah Talmadge in the Shady Pines Gazette nes office. “The Embrace” honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King’s civil rights journey and their early years in Boston.

The reveal took place on the Boston Common in a joyous ceremony attended by Massachusetts’ political leaders and members of the King family.

The 20-foot high bronze sculpture is inspired by a 1964 photo of the couple embracing after Martin Luther King Jr. learned he had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Did you know about the civil rights leader’s connection to Boston?

MLK’s national holiday lands on the third Monday in January every year. So this Monday, January 16th, is a great time to help children set a respectful and kind tone for the year ahead.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to bring compassion, fairness and racial equality to all people throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

As a Baptist minister, Dr. King believed that everyone in America has equal rights. But, back then, people were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Dr. King worked on behalf of equal rights for all of us under the law.

“I Have A Dream”

On August 28, 1963, a quarter of a million people gathered at the Mall in Washington, D.C. to support Dr. Kings ‘dream’ of equality.

His “I Have A Dream” speech is still thought to be one of the most powerful in American history. He called on the people of our nation to come together and treat one another with fairness and mutual respect. Here is the one line that is often quoted:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The speech was effective. Two years later, The Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law. It gave people of all races the right to vote. Three years after that, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Unfortunatey, Dr. King didn’t live long enough to see those changes happen.

Civil Rights Leader Gets National Holiday

Because of his lifelong mission to create opportunity for all Americans, on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luther King Day, into law, making it a federal holiday.

With Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King looking on, the ceremony was held at the White House. Here’s part of what President Reagan said about Dr. King:

“He loved unconditionally. He was in constant pursuit of truth, and when he discovered it, he embraced it. He taught us that only peaceful means can bring about peaceful ends, that our goal was to create a loving community.”

Just In The Nick of Time

With all the angry political divide in our country right now, Martin Luther King Day comes just at the right time, don’t you think? His peaceful approach to intolerance was not only the right way to encourage change, it actually worked!

He made progress where others had failed. Dr. King remains a towering figure in American history. Maybe we should all pause on Monday and think about our own dreams for this country. What do the children in your lives see when they look to the future?

Here in Shady Pines, we do our best to treat our animal and human neighbors with kindness, respect  and caring. It doesn’t matter how old or young they are and where they came from. In our town, everyone matters.

What about you? What’s it like where you live?

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