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Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


January 10, 2022

Next week we will honor the life, legacy, and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Most notable for his speeches that spoke truth to power, this day was not quickly deemed as a holiday as we see it today. Shortly after his assassination in 1968, the campaign to federally recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. began; however, it was not until 1983 that the holiday was signed into law. Finally, in 2000, all 50 states formally acknowledged and observed the holiday.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. played a significant role in the creation of two pivotal civil rights legislation. The Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964, ended segregation in public places. This legislation also instituted the ban on employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The second legislation is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act, passed in the US Senate on May 26, 1965 following the violent attack upon peaceful protesters marching in support of the registration of Black voters from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama on March 7, 1965. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. King, Jr. in 1964 “for his non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population”.

Reading many of MLK's speeches and his ideals on non-violence, I have developed a broader viewpoint on the Civil Rights movement. Many of our friends, colleagues, and family members would agree that a lot has changed since then. Perhaps this is true for some, but for many, the retort might be: for whom have things changed? UNC alumnus, Grant Stephens, shared his reflections as a Black Man in America in an essay titled "Why America May Go to Hell: The Truth and Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” 

The Greeley MLK 2022 event will occur as an asynchronous virtual experience focusing on a Read/Watch/Listen/Do format and will be available on the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center site on Monday, January 17. We look forward to you taking part in what students and staff of UNC in collaboration with Aims Community College, High Plains Library District, City of Greeley, and District 6 have planned for you.

Additional resources to commemorate MLK and the Civil Rights Movement:

For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the following resources are available: DEI Education and Resources, DEI & Antiracism Resources from the UNC Libraries, the Education Equity Toolkit from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the UNITE workshops for faculty, staff, and students.