You are currently viewing Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Today we honor the legacy civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.  This day is observed annually on the third Monday of January.

Martin Luther King Jr Day is an American clergyman, activist, Civil Rights Movement leader. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.  King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor.

During Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, African Americans achieved more genuine progress towards racial equality in American than the previous 350 years.  Bringing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, when Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950s and ‘60s to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States by using the power of words.

Dr. King’s words “I Have a Dream” on his speech and Nobel Peace Price lecture are amongst the most revered orations and writings in the English language.  Nowadays, his accomplishments are being taught in school to American children of all races and his teaching is studied by scholars and students worldwide.

Dr. King believed that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights. Journalistic accounts and televised footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights workers and marchers, produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion that convinced the majority of Americans that the civil rights movement was the most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s.

So, today, celebrate this day by honoring the life of Dr. King and learn about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Share on social media how you celebrated this day using #MartinLutherKingJrDay.

1971 Marvin Gaye’s hit single “What’s Going On?” released

January 20, 1971, sees the release of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” In addition to being a massive hit, the song marked a turning point in Gaye’s career and in the trajectory of Motown.

Gaye achieved popularity in the 1960s with songs like “How Sweet it Is (To Be Loved by You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” prime examples of the “Motown Sound” which blended soul, rock, and pop and is often credited with a leading role in the racial integration of popular music in America. Gaye’s record label, Tamla, was an imprint of Motown Records, and as such Gaye’s work was guided and supervised by legendary Motown founder Berry Gordy. Gaye’s early music, like that of many Motown artists, was innovative and increasingly sensual but hardly political.

“What’s Going On?” originated with Ronaldo “Obie” Benson, a member of the Motown group the Four Tops, who penned an early version after witnessing police violence against anti-Vietnam War protesters in Berkeley, California. Benson took the song to Gaye, whose brother had recently returned from the war and whose cousin had died in it, and Gaye made it his own.

(excerpted from