The most visible figure in the Civil Rights movement, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored across the country annually on the third Monday in January with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, the holiday falls close to his birthday.
As chief spokesman of the movement to end racial discrimination in state and federal laws in the 1950s and 1960s, King organized several marches and peaceful protests. In 1963, he organized the famous March on Washington, which was memorialized this year by President Barack Obama on its 50th anniversary. Here, King delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.
A year later, on October 14, 1964, he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. Tragically, on April 4, 1968 he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee at the young age of 39.
Posthumously, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, and we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day annually to honor his courageous work towards freedom and equality. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was erected in Washington, D.C. in 2011 with a sculpture and inscription that reads, “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” The quote is from his "I Have A Dream" speech.
A Miami Celebration Honoring Dr. King
On the third Monday of January every year, Miami joins in this federal holiday with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in Liberty City. The parade takes place along NW 54th Street on a route from NW 12th Avenue to NW 32nd Avenue. It ends with a celebration at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park.
Parade goers can expect high school marching bands, athletes, and cheerleaders on foot, floats, cars, and fire trucks bearing local politicians, union leaders, and activists—and, for a Caribbean Miami twist, Carnival dancers taking it to the streets in a colorful dance and music performance. Once the parade reaches the park, revelers can enjoy food, activities for kids, and a variety of vendors and entertainment.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an important time to reflect on the journey our nation has taken towards freedom and equality, and to look at the work that still lies ahead. As King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
On this day in Miami, and across the nation, we honor and strive towards his dream.