Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
For some, the national holiday honoring the prominent civil rights activist is a time to give back and serve the community, be it through removing graffiti or picking up litter in a local park.
For others, it’s an opportunity to educate themselves about King and his life's work. And for others, it’s a time to just kick back and enjoy the prolonged weekend.
The City of Rockville will hold its annual celebration of King’s life at 10 a.m. Monday at Richard Montgomery High School.
The free program will feature music and dance performances and community members telling stories of the doors opened in their lives by King’s work. Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard will be the featured speaker. The city also will award The Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Award to a high school student who has promoted King’s dreams and goals, and the F. Michael Taff Award, which honors an individual, business or organization that has made a contribution to improving the lives of people in Rockville with disabilities.
The presidential inauguration ceremony will be broadcast following the program. Click here for more information or call 240-314-8316. For directions, weather and program updates, call 240- 314-5022.
The Music Center at Strathmore on Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda will present a musical tribute and celebration of King’s birthday at 3 p.m Sunday. Tickets are free, but limited to four per person or household. A stand-by line begins at 2 p.m. the day of the concert. For more information on availability check the Strathmore website here.
Take your family to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial. Visitor parking is available along Ohio Drive, SW, between the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials.
Take your family to visit the Lincoln Memorial. Visitor parking is available along Ohio Drive, SW, near the Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Memorials.
The Bethesda North Conference Center will host a service projects and volunteer fair on Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Participants can assist with projects helping children, seniors and veterans, from packing food boxes and lunches for shelters to making fleece blankets for Montgomery Hospice. Learn more at the Montgomery County Volunteer Services website here.
This year’s parade and freedom walk takes place Saturday, rain or shine. Check out the event website for parade routes and times.
The DC area will also celebrate the 57th Presidential Inauguration this weekend through Monday. Plenty of events will coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so make sure you plan well. For inauguration information check the official website here.
So, tell us—What does Martin Luther King Jr. Day mean to you? What are you doing to commemorate King’s legacy?
The Holiday's History
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now a U.S. holiday, took 15 years to create.
Legislation was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) four days after King was assassinated in 1968.
The bill was stalled, but Conyers, along with Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York), pushed for the holiday every legislative session until it was finally passed in 1983, following civil rights marches in Washington.
President Ronald Reagan signed it into law. It became a federal holiday in 1986. Yet it was not until 2000 that every U.S. state celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by its name. Before then, states like Utah referred to the holiday more broadly as Human Rights Day.
Now, the Corporation for National and Community Service has declared it an official U.S. Day of Service.
What does MLK Day mean to you? Tell us in the comments.
This article has been updated from its original version.