Martin Luther King Day

I have to confess that there was a time, growing up, that I didn’t understand why we observed Martin Luther King Day. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind a federal holiday for a man who had not been president. Over time, as I’ve learned more about United States history and the role played by the civil rights movement, I’ve come to believe that MLK’s place in history overshadows that of many presidents. I’ve also come to see MLK Day as a way to honor not only MLK but rather the movement as a whole. As a Christian, I also appreciate the fact that the civil rights movement was a profoundly Christian endeavor that put the teachings of Jesus into effect in the face of stiff, unrelenting, unethical, and often violent and inhumane opposition. To better understand why I consider the civil rights movement an profoundly Christian endeavor, King’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail (pdf) is not a bad place to start.