Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day



This statue depicts Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Liv Brusatti, Senior Staff Writer


Monday, January 17, 2022, the United States nationally celebrated the 93 birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Every year, the second Monday of January is reserved for one of the most prevalent civil rights activists in the United States of America. To commemorate Dr. King’s achievements and impact, most schools and all state departments remain closed this Monday. Is this enough to remember Dr. King’s legacy, though? Many deem it insufficient. With a simple Google search of “How to observe MLK Day,” 7 million results appear. Rather than sleeping in and, in simple terms, wasting the day, why not do something meaningful, learn something new, and appreciate Dr. Martin Luther King’s accomplishments, even after the holiday?

One way to honor Dr. King’s legacy is to research his life and accomplishments. This can include his speech, “I Have a Dream,” or his career in civil rights activism. By reviewing this, it brings attention to his accomplishments and honors what he died for. 

Along with Dr. King’s career, investigating other events in black history is important. Acknowledging the experiences and suffering of African-Americans throughout American history helps society to progress forward and avoid repeating this history. Books like The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Warmth of Other Suns tell stories of African-American experiences.

The Help, both the novel and the film adaptation, rank high on a personal list of favorites. It provides both an entertaining and insightful story,” junior Lily Pingleton said.

Another way to celebrate MLK Day is to read books by African-American authors. In terms of recommendations, a few are The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. These books and others provide wonderful insights into African-American experiences. 

“One of my favorite books I’ve read is Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. It is an excellent testament to how white beauty standards deform the lives of black women,” said junior Maria Mueller.

Along with beautifully written books that give insight into what it means to be an African American, well executed movies offer the same opportunity. More and more black directors, producers, actors, and filmmakers have the opportunity to showcase their talents and perspectives. Movies such as Get Out, 12 Years a Slave, Black Panther, Hidden Figures, and so many others celebrate the progress made since Dr. King’s passing.

“I love Jordan Peele’s movies, like Get Out. One of my favorite features is that the main characters are all played by black actors and that stays the same throughout all of his movies,” junior Vivien Kozeny said. 

Exploring these works of literature in celebration of the wondrous career of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a beneficial way to commemorate this past MLK Day. Choosing to research Dr. King’s achievements, read books by black authors, stories of black history, or movies made by black people are all viable ways to observe this year’s Monday off from school.