January 1st is a time to remember an important day in history. More than 100 years ago, on January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation amid the Civil War.
This document ensured that all enslaved people in the states of the Confederacy “shall be the, thenceforwards, and forever free.” It became a significant step forward in our history, and it made a time of freedom.
It’s also inspired the fight for freedom and equality from many great leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr. He was an influential American civil rights leader who protested against the injustice of racism in his time. He led peaceful marches and spoke numerous times, with his memorable “I Have A Dream” speech. He was the youngest man to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, and his actions paved the way for essential discussions about race.
On January 17th, we can also celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. After his assassination in 1968, this day was created to honor his legacy. It usually falls on the third Monday of the month, around his birthday on January 15th.
Here are some ideas for ways to commemorate this day and honor the important contributions that he made:
- Continue to educate yourself and your children about our country’s rich history as well as the factors in our history that have led to systemic racism.
- Learn about pacifism and non-violent resistance.
- Have open talks with your children about racism.
- Attend events to honor his memory and contributions.
- Promote equality for everyone through your actions, both in the workplace or at school, and with friends and family members. Learn ways we can all help to deconstruct systemic racism.
- Learn about and honor the lives of those who have been oppressed.
- Participate in activities of service to your communities.. For example, volunteering, cleaning up trash, helping a neighbor or community member. Here are some ideas for ways for kids to get involved through volunteering.
These important dates are a reminder of how far our nation has come as well as the work we still need to do.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Check out these additional resources below:
U.S History | Emancipation Proclamation
Classroom Resources For Martin Luther King Jr. Day