Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020: Americans gather to honor life and legacy of civil rights leader

Groups across the country on Monday are gathering to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is observed each year on the third Monday in January. King, who would have turned 91 on Jan. 15, is remembered for his important contributions to the civil rights movement to end racial segregation and discrimination in America.

The civil rights leader helped organized rallies and boycotts, including the successful Montgomery bus boycott, and advocated for peaceful protests. King delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks before crowd of 25,000 in front of the state capital building on March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images)

He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Here are various events being held Monday across the United States in honor of the late civil rights hero.


In his memory, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is also the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service, in which Americans are encouraged to volunteer to improve their communities.

The annual event is an opportunity for Americans to answer the call posed by King, "Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’"

There are many MLK Day service project opportunities happening across the country that you can search for on the Corporation for National and Community Service website, the federal agency which leads the MLK Day of Service.


In Atlanta, multiple events are planned throughout the city as part of holiday celebrations, including a march with a replica of a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority bus from 1955 and tours of King's birth home.

In New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will honor the King’s legacy on Monday with its 34th annual tribute to the civil rights leader. The celebration is New York City’s largest public tribute to King’s life, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

In San Antonio, the 33rd annual MLK March will take place, considered to be one of the largest in the nation, followed by a commemorative program featuring Mayor Ron Nirenberg and other national, state and county officials.

“Every year, the people of San Antonio come together and celebrate the largest MLK March in the world. We march not only in an act of solidarity to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, but to advance his vision of love, peace and justice for all,” Nirenberg said of the event.

In Tampa, multiple parades are planned including the 31st annual Tampa MLK Day Parade featuring bands, floats and drumlines.

In Washington, D.C., the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Parade will take place starting at 11 a.m. local time. The District of Columbia was one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to hold a parade in honor of King after his death, and it helped in the effort to establish a national holiday in his honor.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.