Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was first observed as a national holiday in 1986. However, his life had become a fixed part of American mythology for years prior to that. Dr. King helped expand the rights of many African Americans; his victories touched the lives of other minorities, and for many whites who welcomed the change his leadership brought, King’s life seemed mythological even as he lived it. He is celebrated as a hero not only for the legislation he enabled, but for his articulation of dreams and hopes shared by many during an era of upheaval and change.

For many born after his death, Dr. King is known best for his “I Have a Dream” speech which reflects this spirit and was delivered in 1963, at the height of his fame. The federal holiday, celebrated on the third Monday in January, commemorates Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who articulated the progressive, human hope of the early 1960s.

Honor Dr. King’s legacy through a day of service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of each of our beloved communities. We support Dr. King’s belief in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encourage all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live.