Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Carter G. Woodson is the founder of what is marked today as Black History Month; it commenced in 1926 as Negro History Week, held in the second week of February to mark the significance of President Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays.

Frederick Douglass, a once-enslaved man turned abolitionist, became an immense contributor to the elimination of the slave trade and the release of those enslaved. The commemoration evolved into a monthly celebration in 1976.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK), a nonviolent civil-rights activist, was an influential leader and contributor to the movement of eliminating racial discrimination from American society and the world at large. His efforts contributed to the change of segregation legislations and racist ideologies that oppressed people of colour.

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante is the founder of the Afrocentric movement, which emphasizes a globally inclusive perspective to the traditional Eurocentric ideology. 

Malcolm X, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an advocate for the rights and empowerment of African Americans. Malcolm X became a member of and eventual chief spokesperson for the Nation of Islam.

He aided those who were faithless and helped them to find a faith and a purpose; he committed his life to this passion.

These are just a few of the individuals that have made monumental contributions to the progress and establishment of an equitable, anti-oppressive society for people of African descent. Their efforts have lead to the development of modern movements such as Pan-Africanism, Garveyism, Black Feminism and so on. 

Not to downplay the significant efforts made by these leaders, but the achievements of Afro-Canadians are often displaced. This February, The Association of Black Students will be highlighting their contributions through workshops and seminars, documentary screenings, a talent showcase and the debut of our Let’s Make Our Mark campaign.

Names such as Portia White, Rosemary Sadlier, Anderson Abbott, Rosemary Brown and more will be mentioned. Jan. 18 from 7-9 p.m. ABS will be screening a documentary on campus.

–The Association of Black Students

Martin Luther King, Jr.
-Recognized for his nonviolent political activism for racist discrimination, civil rights activism.
-Delivered the “I have a dream” speech during the march on Washington in 1963.

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-Youngest person to receive Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
-Was inspired by Gandhi.
-Assisted in ending racial segregation on Montgomery public buses during the Browder v. Gayle case sparked by Rosa Parks.
-Spoke openly and strongly against the Vietnam war.
-Assassinated on April 4, 1968.
-In 1999 a 12-person jury concluded that Loyd Jowers and governmental agencies (the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee and the federal government) were party to the conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King.

MLK Day facts
-First observed in the U.S. in 1986 and by all 50 states in 2000
-Marked by his birthday on Jan. 15.
-President Ronald Reagan opposed the King Day bill, questioning King’s actual significance and his “action-oriented Marxist” methods.

His legacy
-The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center, founded by his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King

*All statistics taken from the King Centre website.