On January 17, 2022, the nation will celebrate the legacy and leadership of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King—a graduate of Morehouse College—was a Baptist minister, a peace seeking civil rights activist and the leader of a movement that successfully changed the character of America, for the better, during the mid-1950s and 1960s, until his life was snatched away by an assassin’s bullet on April 4, 1968.
This year, the King family is calling for “no celebration” of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day without the passage of voting rights legislation, putting pressure on President Joe Biden and lawmakers to act on federal voting rights bills that have stalled in Congress. On January 17, the federal holiday commemorating Dr. King’s birthday, the family and other activists will organize marches in Washington DC and Phoenix, AZ, to draw comparison to the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for voting rights for Black Americans. To learn more about the King family’s plea for no celebration and voting rights click here.
Even though there has been a call to not celebrate, given the events of the last year, where the ideals of democracy for all and the dream of a truly United States seems incredibly fragile, leaning into and reflecting on the movement that he led seems more important than ever.
Commonfund, in conjunction with our Commonfund Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Office have partnered to share a few virtual opportunities to commemorate his life and legacy. Below are details for recognition and service opportunities in Commonfund communities as well as educational resources.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Honor the legacy of the Dr. King with living history interpreter John W. McCaskill as he chronicles the last five years of King’s life and shares other stories of the individuals who fought to end racial segregation and discrimination in the United States.
Date: Monday, January 17, 2022
“If you want to be important, wonderful. If you want to be recognized, wonderful. If you want to be great, wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That is the new definition of greatness. By giving that definition of greatness it means that everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” - Dr. King
Points of Light
Points of Light's Listen. Learn. Act to End Racism initiative, in partnership with Morehouse College, brings curated conversations designed to inform and empower individuals to use their influence to fight system racism. Consider listening to the first conversation that features a dialogue about current manifestations and the impact of systemic racism, and actions that individuals and organizations can take to dismantle it. Click here to listen: Moving Forward: Taking Action on Race and Equity
Public Broadcast Service (PBS)
Public Broadcast Service (PBS) has provided five of Dr. King's most memorable speeches. Dr. King is known as a prolific and eloquent orator, and these five speeches, although not an exhaustive list, capture the evolution of Dr. King as a movement leader.
The five speeches made available on this site are:
- “I Have a Dream”, Washington DC, August 28, 1963
- “Our God is Marching On”, Selma, Alabama, March 25, 1965
- “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence”, Riverside Church, NYC, April 4, 1967
- “The Other America”, Stanford University, April 14, 1967
- “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”, Memphis, Tennessee, April 3, 1968
Access all five speeches here.
We encourage each of you to find a way to serve your community and continue to honor Dr. King’s legacy.