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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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Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated Monday, Jan. 20. 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, led 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 Community Coalition will hold its annual Day of Service on Monday with morning volunteer activities, followed by lunch at MCLA's Venable Gym and the presentation of the Peacemaker Award to Kenna Waterman, founder of Josh Bressette Commit to Save a Life. Sign up for activities on BerkshireNonProfits.com or show up at the Venable Gym by 8:30 a.m. 

Berkshire Community College will also host its Day of Service on Monday in the Connector building at BCC’s main campus. The National Day of Service event begins at 8 a.m. with registrations and a light breakfast. From 9-9:45 a.m., President Ellen Kennedy will give welcome remarks and the keynote address will be given by Eden-Reneé Hayes, dean of equity and inclusion and associate professor of psychology at Bard College at Simon's Rock. The event will conclude at noon at First United Methodist Church on Fenn Street in Pittsfield with a community lunch hosted by Harvest Table in the Berkshires, shared by all volunteers and fellow community members. Those interested in volunteering on this day are asked to register in advance.

And Williams College will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. with an alumni panel speaking to current and past experiences engaging in social justice and social movement-based work in relation to the themes and visions of the civil rights movement. The panel will take place at 3 p.m. in Paresky Auditorium. It is preceded by an open gallery of quotes in Baxter Hall, featured all day, and an Interfaith Service at 1 p.m. in the Jewish Religious Center. All are welcome to attend these free, public events. To also celebrate King’s life and legacy, Williams students will partner with MCLA students and members of the Berkshire community to participate in a variety of social service projects from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


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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