MLK Day in the UK

While MLK Day is a federal holiday in the U.S. (and rightly so), it’s just another Monday here in London.

I did try searching to see if there were any events commemorating Dr. King around town, but I could not find any. I did come across events from prior years, but nothing for today.

Fortunately, he is not completely forgotten.

The Evening Standard, London’s dominant daily newspaper, did have a profile in today’s paper, offering a brief background on MLK, and then sharing some of his more memorable quotes.

I thought it would be nice to give a little non-U.S. perspective on MLK, so here are the excerpts from the article:

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day – a paid public holiday in America used to honour the former leader of the Civil Rights Movement. First announced as a holiday in 1983, the then-president Ronald Reagan officiated that every third Monday in January would be used to honour the former leader after millions of people all across the States petitioned for it. Thirty years since his death, his legacy is still very much alive and he’s still regarded as one of the most important figures in history throughout the world. Born on January 15, 1929, today would have been his 89th birthday.

It’s nice to see that it’s not just in the U.S. that King is revered, but around the world.

And here are the quotes that the Evening Standard shared, one of which has a Philadelphia connection:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – from Strength to Love, 1963

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – from Strength to Love, 1963

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – from Oberlin College Commencement speech, 1965

“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” – from speech before a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia, October 26, 1967

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” – I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech, 1968

“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.” – Origin unknown

“Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter” – “The Most Durable Power,” excerpt from Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on 6 November, 1956

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – I Have a Dream, 1963

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”- Letter from Birmingham City Jail, 1963

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Origin unknown, 1967

The article also has a great slide show of some memorable photos of MLK.

I’m sure it was a great day in the U.S., with lots of service being performed in MLK’s name. Perhaps one day there will be a global day of service in his name…