Martin Luther King Day 2017|Celebrating Change

Martin Luther King Day 2017|Celebrating Change

When is Martin Luther King Day 2017?

Now that the holiday season is over, it may seem like there isn't much left to celebrate. Many of us are focused on getting back into the swing of things at school and making good on our New Year's resolutions. Regardless, January is full of holidays, from Russian Christmas to Chinese New Year and Fun at Work Day. Although you can find something to celebrate nearly every day of the month, one January holiday stands out from the rest. Martin Luther King Day is a very important holiday in the history of the US, is federally recognized as a national holiday, and falls on Monday, January 16th this year.


In this blog article, you will learn more about the important significance of this holiday, including:

  • The reason we celebrate Martin Luther King Day

  • Little-known Martin Luther King Jr. facts

  • Some of Dr. King’s famous quotes

  • The history of Martin Luther King Day as a holiday

  • A list of the public and private offices that are closed to observe Martin Luther King Day 

Why do we have a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.?

In the 1950s things were very different than they are today. Nearly a century had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation, but many African American citizens were still oppressed. Many states still had laws on the books that banned them from attending the same schools, using the same restrooms, and frequenting the same establishments as their caucasian counterparts. They were disenfranchised and treated violently for no reason other than the color of their skin. Not all lawmakers believed this was constitutional, and in 1954 the “separate but equal” doctrine that allowed states to continue these discriminatory practices was struck down. This sparked the civil rights movement, which was led by a number of African American leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Martin Luther King Day celebrates a legacy of hope and the healing his leadership brought to America at a time when it was desperately needed. Dr. King held fast to strong Christian values that allowed him to lead the civil rights movement peacefully and nonviolently. He clearly promoted courageous acts, honesty, compassion, unconditional love, equality, tolerance, humility, and acts of service. These are the attributes we are celebrating and the reasons we have a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.


Another reason we have a holiday for Martin Luther King is to commemorate the sacrifices he made to make the dream of a color-blind society a reality. Dr. King believed that to invoke change one must not only talk about it but take action. His actions placed him in many situations where he faced personal threats, imprisonment, and physical harm. He paid the ultimate price when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. His words of inspiration and the example he set opened the door for historic reforms in how people of color are treated in our nation.

Martin Luther King facts

Martin Luther King was an inspiring individual with so many facets to his life. Most people learn a lot about his role in the civil rights movement from the history books, but here are some interesting facts that you may not know from school:

  1. His real name was Michael King Jr, but his parents changed his name to Martin Luther King when he was 5 years old, in honor of the famous Protestant minister, Martin Luther.

  2. Dr. King went to jail 29 times for acts of civil disobedience as well as being imprisoned for many made-up charges intended to quiet his message.

  3. There was a previous unsuccessful attempt to assassinate him ten years before his death when a woman stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener. He subsequently forgave the attacker publicly.

  4. Martin Luther King predicted his death the night before his assassination when he said, "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," from the pulpit.

  5. Dr. King's mother was assassinated six years later while playing the organ at church during the Sunday service.

  6. Martin Luther King was a gifted student that went to college at the age of 15 to eventually become an ordained Baptist minister like his father and grandfather before him.

Martin Luther King Jr.—famous quotes

It's hard to believe that fifty years have passed since Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. His inspirational speeches and writings are just as relevant and inspirational today as they were back when he was still walking amongst us. Below you will find a sampling of Martin Luther King's famous quotes. You may not recognize all of them, but they're all precious words that shaped an era of positive change for our country. Be sure to take the time to appreciate the significance of each famous quote and then share them with others as you celebrate Martin Luther King Day 2017—a day to commemorate his passionate and peaceful drive towards equality for all people.

Martin Luther King Day 2017 Pinterest 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”


“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”


“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”


“The time is always right to do what is right.”

When did Martin Luther King Day become a holiday?

We didn't start observing Martin Luther King Day right after his death. The idea was not popular at first, so it took a long time to become a holiday. In fact, it took about 15 years. The process began when a Democratic congressman from Michigan decided to introduce a bill to make it a commemorative holiday about four years after Dr. King's assassination in 1968. It took a petition with 6 million names, additional legislators getting on board, a public outcry in 1982 and the 1983 civil rights marches in Washington, to convince Congress to pass the legislation. Initially, the celebration date was scheduled for Dr. King's birthday on January 15th, but it was subsequently moved to the third Monday in January to remove opposition to passing the bill into law. The new holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

Is there no school on Martin Luther King Day?

Once the bill was signed into law, Martin Luther King Day became a federal holiday commemorating the importance of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King's nonviolent leadership. Many offices and schools are closed in observance of this day. Here's a sampling of what types of businesses and offices are closed on Martin Luther King Day:

  • Postal Offices (no mail delivery)

  • Financial Institutions, including banks and the stock market

  • Court Buildings

  • Federal, State, and Municipal Offices

  • Public Libraries

  • Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Schools 

In spite of the federal observance of the holiday, a lot of businesses choose to stay open.  Shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and public transit are included in the types of establishments you'll find open on this day.

Enlightium Academy will be closed Monday, January 16th in observance of Martin Luther King Day 2017. At Enlightium Academy, we value each student individually, regardless of race, ability, or social status. We understand that all students deserve access to education and have their own unique needs when it comes to learning. We specialize in providing a flexible and high quality Christian education to students of all types, all within the comfort of their own home. Our biblical worldview is infused into every lesson of our award-winning and accredited online homeschool curriculum. Parents and students alike love Enlightium Academy’s online Christian homeschool. If you are interested in learning more about how Enlightium Academy may fit the needs of your PreK-12 student, click on the link below.

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