Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated Monday, Jan. 21. It is a federal holiday to commemorate the birthday of the civil rights activist born Jan. 15, 1929. It is observed on the third Monday in January.
King, a Baptist minister, lead the civil rights movement in the 1960s by espousing nonviolent protest. His best-known address, the "I Have a Dream" speech, was given in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of 250,000 who participated in the March on Washington. The 1964 Nobel Prize winner was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
While the reverend was born in Atlanta, he has ties to Massachusetts. He earned his doctorate from Boston University and met and married his wife, Coretta Scott, in Boston. The state's U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke sponsored the first bill to declare a holiday in his honor in the 1970s. MLK Day was first observed as a federal holiday in 1986 but a number of states, particularly in the South and West, did not add it to their list of state holidays until some years later.
This year, the holiday intersects with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. The president will take the oath of office using two Bibles, one owned by King and the other by Abraham Lincoln, and the invocation will be given by Myrlie Evers-Williams, whose husband, civil rights activist Medgar Evers, was assissinated in 1963.
While federal and state offices are closed, only about a third of businesses give their employees the time off. Some communities are planning community days of service on Monday. Check the iBerkshires Weekend Outlook for events.
Federal, state and local offices; no mail delivery.
Public colleges and schools, most private schools
Some offices and businesses
BRTA is not running
Most retail outlets, groceries
Restaurants and bars