When Stevie Wonder released his single “Happy Birthday” in 1981, he had one person in mind.
Someone so extraordinary that he deserved a national holiday to celebrate his birth. It took 32 years of tireless campaigning and Stevie Wonder’s hit song before Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday was finally recognised as a national holiday in America in 1983.
This year, to celebrate the special day on 18 January, The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis invites everyone around the world to join them for a virtual celebration of the civil rights leader’s birth.
King Day: A Virtual Celebration of Dr Martin Luther King will showcase Dr King’s work and the history of the holiday. There will also be musical performances by Memphis musicians, Garry Goin, TykeT, Karen Brown, Adajyo; as well as scholarly insights on Dr King’s life and legacy by Dr Hasan Jeffries, Associate Professor at Ohio State University and editor of Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement.
Museum educator Dory Lerner will read the book My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart written by Angela Farris Watkins, and there will be expressions from museum volunteers about the importance of serving on King Day at the museum over the years.
The livestream event promises to be an uplifting and inspiring moment to celebrate Dr King’s birthday, a day that that has come to serve as a global focus on the issue of civil rights everywhere, and a day that highlights the necessity for non-violence to promote change.
Celebrations begin in Memphis at 12 noon and 6pm, Monday 18 January US Central Standard time. (Tuesday 19 at 5am and 11am AEDST)
For details: https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/king-day