Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Portsmouth
What does this holiday mean to you and how will you celebrate?
Today, Monday, Jan. 21, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
For some, the national holiday honoring the prominent civil rights activist is a time to give back and serve the community, be it through removing graffiti or picking up litter in a local park.
For others, it’s an opportunity to educate themselves about King and his life's work. And for others, it’s a time to just kick back and enjoy the prolonged weekend.
In Portsmouth, a special ceremony will be held at Patriots Park before the 28th annual torch run.
The run will begin at 9 a.m. from Patriots Park. Participants will run 8.2-miles south, while carrying the torch, down Route 114 as part of a day-long observance of the holiday.
What does Martin Luther King Jr. Day mean to you? What are you doing to commemorate King’s legacy? Tell us in the comment section below!
The Holiday's History
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now a U.S. holiday, took 15 years to create.
Legislation was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) four days after King was assassinated in 1968.
The bill was stalled, but Conyers, along with Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York), pushed for the holiday every legislative session until it was finally passed in 1983, following civil rights marches in Washington.
Then-president Ronald Reagan signed it into law. Yet it was not until 2000 that every U.S. state celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by its name. Before then, states like Utah referred to the holiday more broadly as Human Rights Day.
Now, the Corporation for National and Community Service has declared it an official U.S. Day of Service.