Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr. Events

On November 3, 1983 President Reagan signed a bill that established the 3rd Monday of every January as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday (starting with 1986). Today there are many options for celebrating this holiday.

Two parades mark the celebration in Houston. At 10 a.m. the Black Heritage Society's 30th anniversary parade begins at Capitol and Jackson near Minute Maid Park. Call 713-236-1700 for more information. At 2 p.m. the 14th annual MLK Grande Parade will start on Allen Parkway just east of Taft. Call 713-953-1633 for more information.

On the Rice University campus, the Black Student Association is hosting an annual Martin Luther King Jr. candlelight vigil at 5:30 p.m. in Ray's Courtyard at the Rice Memorial Center. The keynote speaker will be Judson Robinson II, the new president and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League. At 5:45 the vigil will move to the chapel and proceed from there to a reception at approximately 6:15. The event is free and open to the public.

Those who do not want to brave the cold rainy weather still have options for commemorating the holiday. The Martin Luther King Jr., Research and Education Institute Web site contains audio excerpts of his sermons and speeches, a biography, an encyclopedia, a document inventory, and information about purchasing compilations of his papers. This year the institute also held a screening of a documentary film clip in Beijing about Passages of Martin Luther King and presented Call to Conscience awards to the National Theater of China and to Teachers 4 Social Justice.

The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, established by his wife, Coretta Scott King, also offers books, audio and video cassettes, film, television, CDs and web pages to educate people about Dr. King’s life and nonviolent methods aimed at achieving social change.

Dr. King's biography, speeches, and pictures of the places associated with his life are available too through the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress. (Use the search box to retrieve a comprehensive listing of links related to Dr. King.)