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Coretta Scott King, left, watches President Ronald Reagan sign the bill creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Holiday Hours: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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The Rev. King waves to the hundreds of thousands gathered on the Washington Mall in 1963 when he gave the 'I Have a Dream' speech.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated Monday, Jan. 16. 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.

While federal and state offices are closed, only about a third of businesses give their employees the time off. Northern Berkshire is planning community days of service on Monday.

Closed:
Federal, state and local offices; no mail delivery.
Banks
Stock markets
Public colleges and schools, most private schools
Public libraries
Some offices and businesses
BRTA is not running

Open:
Most retail outlets, groceries
Restaurants and bars
Convenience stores
iBerkshires' offices


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