Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not to make the holiday all about me, but...I was thinking about the fact that Martin Luther King Day has been celebrated for only twenty-one years. That means I was nine, in fourth grade, the first time the day was observed. I remember some posters hanging on my classroom's bulletin board depicting Dr. King, as well as, oddly enough, Christopher Columbus, and some astronauts.

While I don't remember the inaugural celebration of MLK Day, I do remember an episode of the television sit-com Martin that aired a few years later, when I was in probably seventh or eighth grade. In the episode Martin becomes close to a little kid. I don't remember who the kid was, only that something of an unexpected bond forms between him and the show's main character. Eventually, if I remember right, Martin starts imagining the boy coming to live with him, and he gets kind of excited about it. The ball drops, though, when Martin learns the kid is going to live in Arizona.

So there's this kind of dramatic moment where Martin is getting a little choked up at saying goodbye to the kid he's become unexpectedly close to, and he's stifling his tears in this manly, faux-dramatic way, and then he turns to the kid and says, "Remember. Whatever they tell you out there in Arizona, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is a holiday."

And so, of course, however many years later, it is, even if a few of the holdout states call it by a slightly different name.

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