State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C - Schenectady) reminds constituents that January 19th, Martin Luther King Day, is more than just a holiday to take off from school and work.
"This day was set aside by Congress in 1983 to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and the contributions he made to improving our society," Senator Farley said. "It is also a day to take steps against prejudice and discrimination."
Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929, and followed in his father's footsteps in becoming a Baptist minister. While attending Crozer Seminary, he learned about Gandhi and how that leader guided the people of India to protest non-violently in order to get the British rulers out of his country. Martin Luther King was so impressed with Gandhi's tactics that he would later follow his example of peaceful protest.
Martin Luther King wanted to put an end to Jim Crow laws that forced black people to use separate facilities, such as rest rooms and restaurants, from white people. After Rosa Parks' arrest in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, Martin Luther King organized a successful boycott of those city buses. Martin Luther King led the fight for civil rights in the South until his untimely death in 1968, with notable marches and famous speeches, including the well-known "I Had a Dream" speech.
"This year, Martin Luther King Day falls on January 19th," Senator Farley said. "On that day, we can honor Dr. King by thinking of something we can do that would positively affect our communities."