Thursday, January 16, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

You may be wondering why you don’t have classes next Monday.  The reason for this day off is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  But who is Martin Luther King Jr.?  Those of you who have taken the 1960’s class may already be familiar with the Civil Rights Movement.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a major leader of this movement.  The goal of the Civil Rights Movement was to end racial discrimination and segregation in the United States.  While slavery had ended a century before, African-Americans continued to be treated differently and unequally from white Americans.

While there were also many other important figures in the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the most well-known, because of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  In this speech, he expressed his dreams for the future of the United States, with respect to equal rights and treatment of everyone, regardless of skin color.  As one of the leaders of the movement, he encouraged non-violence in achieving the movement’s goals.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 because of his controversial political actions.  Every year, we honor him on the 3rd Monday of January (close to his birthday) because of his bravery and the changes that he helped make in this country.


Discrimination: Unfair treatment of a person or a group of people differently from other people.

Segregation:  Keeping people of different races, religions, or other groups separate from each other 
(e.g. separate schools for African-Americans and whites)

Assassination:  Surprise murder of an important person, often for political reasons

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