In November 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill commemorating the third Monday of the month of January as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
On Jan. 20 1986, the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was observed.
It took 14 years, however, for all 50 states to officially recognize the holiday.
Many of us learned about this day in elementary school, but how often do we celebrate it? Here are five ways to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Listen to “I Have a Dream” by Common featuring Will.i.am. Common’s skills are remarkable and unforgettable on this track. Between verses, the song is interwoven with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Common’s verses juxtaposed with excerpts of the speech provide inspiration: “Hold the same fight that made Martin Luther the King / I ain’t usin’ it for the right thing / In between lean and the fiends, hustle and the schemes / I put together pieces of a Dream / I still have one / I got a Dream / We gonna work it out, out, out.”
Read Taylor Branch’s “King Era” trilogy. It took Branch 24 years to complete the trilogy, which includes “Parting the Waters,” “Pillar of Water” and “At Canaan’s Edge.” Read excerpts from the books at www.taylorbranch.com.
Watch President Obama give his 2008 speech to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf0x_TpDris.
Watch artist Jordan Tarrant create a speed portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-TAQh41pdg.
Last, but not least, re-watch Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to remind you of how much progress America has achieved and what is still left to accomplish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk.