I am writing this article from an African American perspective and realize that there may be others that may not share my feelings in reference to the acknowledging and celebrating of Martin Luther King’s Birthday which I find to be the most profound holiday honoring a man of color. While Martin Luther King’s birthday is January 15,we celebrate it on the third Monday of January.
I argue that the magnitude of the sacrifice and progress Martin made to right inequality, injustice, and discriminatory practices is trivialized in many educational venues as well as corporate businesses. I say this because many businesses, especially Anglo Saxon businesses don’t particularly honor this holiday as mandatory and many times only acknowledge it by promoting service projects instead of encouraging people to get out and learn more about this incredible African American. Service projects are a daily practice and don’t necessary bring attention to the gravity and importance of why we honor Martin Luther King Holiday.
The inability of many school age children to elaborate on the importance of Martin Luther King Holiday and why his birthday is celebrated speaks for itself. This is even made more insulting when schools allow children out to celebrate and honor this holiday and a majority of these students see it as a leisure day doing nothing to raise their understanding of the relevance of his contributions. It has been noticed that in many predominately white schools, study of Martin Luther King as well as other history involving the achievements and contributions of African American is trivialize or not taught at all because it makes many white teachers feel uncomfortable teaching what they consider black history. And one much acknowledge that the history of blacks in this country is not necessarily a pretty history. Heaven forbid if we contribute to making white children feel uncomfortable about their ancestors’ treatment toward people of color.
Common sense dictates that not teaching Black history is ridiculous because Black history is history, but some would argue that we are entertaining racial educational environments, subliminally promoting white supremacy. The social and political climate during Martin Luther’s period of promoting civil rights and equality was one of blatant hate directed physically and verbally toward African Americans and shouldn’t be diluted or sugarcoated to be political correct to appease the conscience of the oppressors. Unpleasant and horrendous events took place and must be addressed if for no other reasons to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t present itself again.
More effort could be made in promoting programs where people come together and learn of the contributions this man made in promoting the execution of human dignity and human rights to all people regardless of color, creed, or religious differences. The contributions he made to promote civil rights and equality is monumental and unfortunately in time, contributed to his death. Let’s not trivialize and minimize the legacy of an extraordinary man who I personally feel was ordained by God to bring about a change in bringing about human dignity and equality for all human beings.
While we have a long way to go, we must attribute the positive and productive changes we enjoy today to Martin’s dream and legacy. We can best honor Martin Luther King in learning all we can about this courageous extraordinary man, especially by attending programs, convocations, and celebrations in multitudes, where people of all colors are present, learning about the ultimate sacrifice a man can make by dedicating one’s life for the betterment of humanity.
In all fairness, Nashville, Tennessee‘s acknowledgement and celebration of the Martin Luther King Holiday is better than most other cities. This can be contributed to Nashville’s involvement as one of the hubs for the Civil Rights Movement. However involvement and participation by our youth is a guideline for rating it’s success. For it the future generation that holds the keep to realizing and materializing King’s dream.
I challenge all Americans to learn as much as possible about this leader of the Civil Rights Movement and become involve in truly materializing his legacy. Anything less of knowing the commitment and sacrifice this man made is considered unacceptable. If we are going to honor or celebrate Martin Luther King Holiday, let’s do it right, first by knowing why we are celebrating and honoring this holiday.