People often celebrate Martin Luther King Day by volunteering to help charitable causes, or by teaching children about Dr. King’s life and achievements. Unlike many other holidays, Martin Luther King Day is relatively new. That means there aren’t many established traditions surrounding the day, aside from the goal of promoting racial equality among all Americans.
Martin Luther King Day became a federal holiday in the United States nearly three decades ago , but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that all 50 states recognized it as an official holiday. South Carolina was the last to officially recognize the day and provide paid holiday to all state employees. Before this, each employee had to choose between Martin Luther King Day and three other holidays.
In recent years, the holiday has become known as the Martin Luther King Day of Service. This new purpose for the holiday was started by Senator Harris Wofford and Congressman John Lewis, with the aim of following the ideals of Martin Luther King. King always promoted equality amongst all Americans, and by assisting charitable causes people can help further his ideals.
The idea is that people use their paid holiday to help others, either through working on community projects or taking part in charitable events. Citizen action groups often ask people to volunteer on Martin Luther King Day, along with charities and other worthy causes. There are many websites setup to help people find projects to join, and people of any age are welcome. Popular projects include helping in kitchens of homeless shelters and caring for senior citizens.
Students and pupils are often taught about Martin Luther King, Jr., including his life, achievements and the history of racial equality in the United States. Particular focus is given to the history of racial segregation. Many people believe it’s important for all children to know and understand the struggles of Dr. King and those who campaigned for racial equality, as this helps to promote respect and understanding.
There is a lot of variation in how the holiday is celebrated in different states. Some states recognize the day as an independent holiday, while others celebrate it in combination with other holidays. In Arizona, for example, the day is combined with Civil Rights Day. Some states also combine the holiday with the birthday of Robert E. Lee, who commanded the Confederate army during the American Civil War.