Department of Defense Education Activity

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 20, 2020 is a milestone year for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. It commemorates the 25th anniversary of the national day of service, which is established to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, through volunteerism in our communities.

On Monday, January 20, 1986, Americans celebrated the first official Martin Luther King Day, which is the only federal holiday commemorating an African-American. In 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service and marking the third Monday in January every year as, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service - a "Day On, Not a Day Off."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the twentieth-century America's most compelling and effective Civil Rights leaders entered the civil rights movement in 1955.

Dr. King desired to obtain equal rights for all and this was shown by him doing all he could to make people realize that "all men are created equal."

Dr. King advocated nonviolent resistance to overcome injustice and a means of lifting racial oppression. He created change with organized Sit-ins, marches, and peaceful demonstrations that highlighted issues of inequality. Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the youngest person to ever receive this high honor. He followed in his grandfather and father footsteps into the ministry to become a Baptist minister. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39, as he stood on the balcony of his hotel.

Dr. King was a husband, father, friend, and an advocate for the betterment of all peoples’ lives and the communities they resided in. In the spirit of this 25th anniversary of the day of service, remember to MAKE IT A DAY ON, NOT A DAY OFF, for you and those around you.


The Purpose of Education - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Excerpted from Morehouse College Student Paper, 1947 Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education.