January is just around the corner, and with it, the national holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Although black history month is in February, the United States honors MLK in the middle of January every year. It is somewhat ironic that we celebrate this national holiday in honor of a man whom the government feared because of the influence he had across America.
I think about how many people were parts of the civil rights movement as a whole including Rosa Parks, Richard Lawson, Ruby Bridges, and Malcolm X among others. I realize that the whole month of February is dedicated to them in a way because they are a part of black history. But I think that in making January 17 “Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” it puts so much more of an emphasis on MLK and makes it seem like other’s contributions to the civil rights movement were not important. All civil rights leaders were crucial to the process of changing the status quo and should be recognized as well.
It’s easy for teachers to focus on only King in class discussions and in assigning civil rights literature when they celebrate MLK Day in classrooms. I think it’s important to remember the civil rights movement as a whole on this day though because without the contributions of so many other activists, King would not have been as prominent of a figure.