Dr. King’s Legacy: What does this national holiday mean to you?


Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr in Washington DC
oday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, one of only four federal holidays honoring an individual. (The others are Columbus Day, Christmas, and Washington’s Birthday—also called President’s Day.)

What does MLK Day mean to you?

Here’s what it means—as seen through the eyes of a young boy.

Public schools are closed today, so last Friday is the school day often used to commemorate Dr. King and his legacy.

On Friday morning, my young son insisted on dressing in his Sunday best, because, he told us solemnly, there was an “important assembly.”

After school, I asked him about it. He said the entire school assembled, and he and his fellow second graders sang, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.” He recited it for us, indicating that a considerable investment of time and energy had gone into learning the piece. Other grades give their own performances honoring Dr. King.

What did song and the assembly mean to him? I knew that he was excited that today is a holiday from school, but I wondered what he took to be the meaning of the day. Here’s what he said:

“It means that the spirit of Martin Luther King’s dream is still around,” he said.

What’s his dream? I asked.

“He wanted Black people to have the right rights,” he said. “Not to be slaves or bossed around and have to go to different schools and drink from different water fountains. He wanted Blacks and Whites to go to the same schools.”

“He wanted justice for all—for everyone to have peace and to stop fighting.”

The message got through.

What does today mean to you?
How will you spend it?
Are you participating in any events?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email