A legacy of service

Tourists crowds gather around the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during Cherry Blossom Festival in 2018 to pay respects and view the monuments. (Melissa Kopka/BIGSTOCK.COM)

“Everyone can be great because everybody can serve.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

For 26 years, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday has been a national holiday specifically designated as a national day of service. The goal: To encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. 

Dr. King’s life and legacy are rooted in service, and even though we must be mindful of safety precautions during the ongoing public health crisis of COVID-19, there are still many ways to be of service to various communities, whether locally or nationally. And it doesn’t have to be limited to the King holiday. Monday, Jan. 18 is the official holiday, but there are always needs to be filled.

Click here to find an opportunity to serve.

For those interested in touring various landmarks and sites associated with Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, there are many locations throughout the Southeast to explore, most notably The King Center in his hometown of Atlanta.

In addition to The King Center, Atlanta’s other King historic sites include his birth home, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was baptized, ordained and served as co-pastor with his father until 1968.

The most recent additions to the array of King landmarks in the U.S. are both in Washington, D.C. – the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial monument, part of the National Park Service, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian. 

The place of King’s assassination is now the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, one of many sites that are part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which also features the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth’s, where sit-ins began; the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; and the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. There is also a trail within this trail – markers throughout Mississippi for theMississippi Freedom Trail, which was created in 2011 to commemorate the people and places in the state who played a pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement.