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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Culture

Today, January 16th in the United States, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  This is a federal* holiday commemorating the life of Reverend Martin Luther King.  This holiday takes place each year on the third Monday of January.  This is a day to remember the life and work of Reverend King.  Martin Luther King was a civil rights leader known around the world for his nonviolent civil rights campaign to bring about racial and cultural understanding as well as equality under the law for all Americans.

King was a Baptist minister who became a civil rights activist, a leader of large scale nonviolent boycotts, marches, and founder of civil rights organizations to bring about social change and equality.  He is remembered for expanding American values to include the vision of a color blind society.  In 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for all of his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through nonviolent means.  King was unfortunately and untimely assassinated on April 4th, 1968.  A campaign for a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King began soon after he has killed in 1968, but it wasn’t until 1983 that the holiday was established by the federal government.  Today this holiday is often commemorated by performing volunteer service in one’s community.  This type of volunteer service is performed to help further the ideas of civil involvement and cooperative community action that King dedicated his life to promoting.

The following is a video of Reverend Martin Luther King speaking the day before he was killed.  This is the end of his last recorded speech.  The transcript is below.

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead, but it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

* national or nation-wide

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.