Welcome back, RVers. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up pretty quickly, and you might trying to come up with some ways to celebrate the holiday. Schools and some places of work are closed on this day. But we must remember that MLK Day is so much more than having an extra day off work or school.
It has become a day of service all over the nation, so this year, take those extra 24 hours you have and really make the most of them by doing something that honors his values and his place in American history!
Most know the meaning of Christmas Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day, but what do you actually know about Martin Luther King Jr. Day? A good place to start the holiday off right is to know the purpose of it. History classes in school only taught us so much, and some things learned in those classes may not even be true. Be sure you have a decent understanding of why we dedicate this day to MLK.
Read a few of his books, read books written by others about him, dig deeper into his radical ideology and read some of his own notes. You can also read his “Letter to Coretta,” written in October 1960 from the Reidsville State Prison or his “Our God is Marching On” speech which he delivered March 1965 from the steps of the Alabama State House after leading a march of thousands from Selma to Alabama’s capital.
Watch Movies About His Life
There’s a film called Our Friend, Martin that’s probably shown in most classrooms across the United States all throughout January. Though it’s animated, it shows historical footage of King at different points in his life. then, check out Ava Duvernay’s Selma and you’ll learn that King lived a life that was so much more complex than what most of us know. Afterwards, head over to YouTube and watch his “I Have a Dream” speech to hear his powerful and still relevant message. Pop some popcorn, make some snacks and get comfy!
If you trying to get out of the house for the day, why not find a museum or something similar that’s dedicated to MLK? If you’re close to D.C., you should definitely try to make it to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History. You can even check out the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial there. It’s open 24 hours a day and there’s no entry fee. If you’re a resident of Illinois, you’re in luck! There are several museums offering free admission January 21st.
Free Local Events
If you aren’t in that area, check your local area for free events! There are so many parades, festivals and the like to celebrate the holiday. Some of your local museums even have special exhibits for the month of January that you can check out, too.
Visit a Historical MLK Site
You can tour the home where he was born in Atlanta, climb the steps where he gave the infamous “I Have a Dream” speech outside the Lincoln Memorial, sit in the jail cell he once sat in and where he wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and his burial site in Atlanta.
Celebrate With Food
If you’re really into African American History or just MLK himself, you can celebrate by eating his favorite meal (according to historical accounts). It might sound crazy, but why not eat like a true Southerner? His supposed favorite dinner consisted of fried chicken, sweet potatoes, collard greens and pecan pie for dessert. Sounds delicious!
One of King’s most powerful messages was always, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” So, make MLK Day the day you get up and finally get involved in your community. Do a quick search on the internet and find some volunteer opportunities in your area. It can be literally anything, like helping out at a homeless shelter, food pantry work, manual labor at city parks, etc.
Or, if you just can’t find a way to get involved or if you want to get your youngsters involved too, collect some canned goods, paper products, toiletries and maybe some diapers. Drop them off at your local food pantry. Some of these items can’t be purchased with food stamps, even though people really tend to need them. Visit this website for a list of all registered MLK Day volunteer opportunities!
Take a trip to the library!
Especially if you have kids, it’s a great place to learn the hard facts. And chances are your local library is probably holding some special events or programs for the holiday.
What do you do to celebrate the holiday? Let us know!