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Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.?

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday celebrated within the United States. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most well-known nonviolent activists in the Civil Rights Movement, was a pivotal leader during that time. The Civil Rights Movement protested against racial discrimination in the law and civil society. A familiar Civil Rights Act is that of Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks started their journeys in the Civil Rights Movement around the same time. Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the famous American civil rights activist who dedicated his life to achieving equality for people of all races. At the age of 39, he was assassinated at a motel in 1968. In 1970, states and cities made his birthday a holiday before it became a federal holiday. Finally, in 1983, legislation made the third Monday of January a federal holiday. To this day, citizens celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Robin Cochran, a World Geography and Mississippi Studies teacher at West Lauderdale Middle School, commented on the importance of the holiday saying, “It’s a day that reminds us of what all happened in the Civil Rights movement.” 

When asked how she incorporates it into her classes, Cochran replied, “We usually take some of his documents and text code them to make sure we understand what his messages are as overall messages.” 

West Lauderdale students were asked if they thought there should be a whole holiday dedicated to one man. Elizabeth Orrell, freshman at West Lauderdale High School, replied, “I think it’s more than dedicated to one man, I think it… He’s just the symbol of it… of something that was way bigger, so in a way, it’s not really about one man.” 

Mason McCary, senior at West Lauderdale, answered, “Yeah, because he was an inspiration to many people… he helped to progress the old way of thinking, and a lot of people didn’t think the way they should. It was a lot of segregation back then, and he was one of the people willing to step up for what he believed in.”

The United States still honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day with marches, parades, and speeches from civil rights and political leaders.

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Brailynn Lee
Brailynn Lee, News Reporter
My name is Brailynn Lee. I am a freshman at West Lauderdale, and I am so excited to be a part of The Squire staff!
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