Martin Luther King Jr Day Unique Among Holidays
Martin Luther King Jr Day Unique Among Holidays

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” That is why the slogan of the national holiday that marks his birthday is “A day on, not a day off.” In 1994, Congress declared the federal holiday to be a day of service.

President Barack Obama and his family will serve food to families in need on Martin Luther King Day Monday. “Dr. King taught us that ‘an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity,’” the president said in a proclamation for MLK Day. “In honor of this spirit, Americans across the country will come together for a day of service.”

King Day service projects are planned throughout New York City. The MLK Day Supper in Park Slope will help those in need by providing a hot meal and a warm smile, according to the federal MLK Day website, A food pantry in Fort Richmond is getting an extreme pantry makeover so that clients can shop in a supermarket-like setting. Collecting warm coats for the poor, baking sweet treats for children, painting nonprofits, reading one on one with children, and organizing games for teenagers are among the New York City King Day good deeds.


“When you talk to the American people, you know that there are people working in soup kitchens, and people who are mentoring, and people who are starting small businesses and hiring their neighbors, and very rarely are they checking are they Democrat or Republican. There’s a sense of neighborliness that’s inherent in the American people—we just have to tap into that,” Obama said in a Jan. 9 speech. The administration wants the day to start a national year of action.

“Volunteering is a core American tradition that can help lift up a community’s spirits and improve its economic well-being. As citizens work alongside each other to solve problems, they will gain valuable skills and experience and be inspired to volunteer year-round,” stated Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in an announcement.

A Short, Altruistic Life

King lived to be 39. He left a widow and four children when he was assassinated. He was born Jan. 15 1929, in Atlanta, and died April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn. He won a Nobel Prize for Civil Rights and Social Justice in 1964. He led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. One of his most famous quotes is “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He wrote it in 1963 in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” where he was being held for protesting segregation.

  • EmpressL

    “I have a dream….” and it needs to be for everyone!

  • konspikuous

    Arguably, the last great leader in the US.

  • JasmineStarlight

    Leaders who make a difference in the world, marching on through indifference and hatred… never taking their eye off the ball. Slow change unfortunately. A great man who deserves to be honored. Peace :)

  • Jan Jekielek

    I love this idea of “a day on, not a day off.” May we have as many of those days “on” as possible. MLK, you continue to inspire me!

    • allison1050

      Jan, I had used the name of tense641 but now have found that Disqus has something else, how do I get back to my tense641 account?

      • Jan Jekielek

        Hi, I am not completely sure what you mean. You used the username tense641 in the past on disqus? Is that right? Do you know what email is associated with the account? You can enter the username here to reclaim the password:

        • allison1050

          Hi, yes I did use the username tense641 in the past on disqus on this site and others. It was 3 days ago that this “change” in my username appeared, it’s an old old name but I’ve used tense641 on HP and when I cut myself off from them last month and came to TET on about 12/14th there about. It’s still showing up as allison1050 but I’ll live with it. I just want to say a great big thank you Jan for trying to help me.

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