Martin Luther King Day, January 18th
The creation of a national holiday to honor Dr. King had been controversial, because it was a signal that the US is becoming a more demographically diverse nation, from one that had been dominated by a White person-centric narrative ("Martin Luther King Day was not observed by all states until 2000," UPI).
National Day of Service," and in most communities there are many volunteer activities going on. (Although my one concern is that in colder climes, January 18th isn't the best day around which to organize such activities, especially outside.)
National Park Service free admission day. MLK Day is one of the days on which the National Park Service provides free admission to parks which normally charge an admission free.
The controversy over renaming streets in honor of Dr. King. Interestingly, the Austin American-Statesman has republished an article, "Austin’s battle over Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard," about the original controversy in the 1970s to change the name of 19th Street in Austin, Texas to honor Dr. King. It's a great story because of how it gets in to the intricacies about social change more generally, about public space and monuments, who had traditionally been honored, why, and how that is changing.
It's the flip side of discussions about the original naming of streets in favor of Confederate personages, as a coded protest against civil rights activism and.
Along these lines is comedian Chris Rock's joke about how you know you're in the 'hood when you're on Martin Luther King Avenue speaks to spatial organization and long time patterns of discrimination.
That is something we need to be thinking about on Martin Luther King Day, as the places that have been named to honor Dr. King tend to be areas of violence and poverty, not hope and positive change, and improved economic circumstances.
Repositioning the day as a National Day of Service is one step towards this.