Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

The third Monday in January is a day for Americans to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy through service.


January 15th is a national holiday in the United States [1]. On the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service we celebrate a great leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. In nonviolent resistance to injustice, poverty, and war, he wrote books and articles, gave sermons and speeches, and led marches and other nonviolent actions from 1955 until he was murdered by a white racist assassin on April 4th, 1968.

A Christian pastor, Dr. King insisted that every person is somebody worthy of respect, and he struggled with compassion, courage, and faith. His most famous address, I have a Dream, is one of the most beautiful and inspiring speeches in the English language.

Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a generation of Americans. He taught us that patriotism means to love one’s country not for what it is but for what it can become. He demonstrated that we can transform society if we can imagine a brighter future and if we have the courage and discipline to engage in direct action to create that future ourselves. And in one of his last sermons he reminded us of the meaning of true greatness:

If you want to be great, wonderful! But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. . . . Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.

January 15th is not only a day to remember Dr. King. It’s a day to share his legacy with others and to continue to struggle against poverty, racism, and violence.


  1. MLK Day is the third Monday in January. It was on January 15th in 1007. According to About Dr. King and MLK Day,

    Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.”

  2. Resources