Fort McCoy’s observance for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is scheduled for Jan. 19 at noon at McCoy’s Community Center.
The speaker is Marcus Gentry, founder of The Respect Academy. Gentry is an innovator, speaker, and consultant. According to his website, www.marcusgentry.com, The Respect Academy is “is a web-based service organization that uses the Socratic method of teaching,
Coaching, and creative empowerment strategies for the application of universal principles.”
The event is coordinated by the Fort McCoy Equal Opportunity Office and is open to all members of the Fort McCoy community.
On Jan. 17, 2022, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will mark the 27th anniversary of the National Day of Service. This day was established to honor the life and legacy of King and to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities, according to the Department of Defense Education Activity at https://www.dodea.edu/dodeaCelebrates/MLK.cfm.
Americans celebrated the first official Martin Luther King Day, which is the only federal holiday commemorating an African American, on Jan. 20, 1986. In 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a National Day of Service and made the third Monday in January every year the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service — a “Day On, Not a Day Off.”
King advocated for nonviolent resistance to overcome injustice as a means of lifting racial oppression. He created change with organized sit-ins, marches, and peaceful demonstrations that highlighted issues of inequality.
King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964; he was the youngest person to ever receive this high honor. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father by entering the ministry to become a Baptist minister.
On April 4, 1968, at the age of 39, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., as he stood on the balcony of his hotel. King had traveled to Memphis to lead a march in support of striking sanitation workers.
According to The King Center’s website, thekingcenter.org: “During the less than 13 years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, from December 1955 until April 4, 1968, African Americans achieved more genuine progress
toward racial equality in America than the previous 350 years had produced. Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent
leaders in world history.
“Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950s and 1960s to achieve legal equality for African Americans in the United States.
While others were advocating for freedom by ‘any means necessary,’ including violence, Martin Luther King Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience to achieve seemingly impossible goals. He went on to lead similar campaigns against poverty and international conflict, always maintaining fidelity to his principles that men and women everywhere, regardless of color or creed, are equal members of the human family.”
The King Center was founded in 1968 by Coretta Scott King. Both a traditional memorial and programmatic nonprofit, the King Center was envisioned by its founder to be “no dead monument, but a living memorial filled with all the vitality that was his, a center of human endeavor, committed to the causes for which he lived and died.” That vision has been carried out through both educational and community programs.
For more information about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work or to find other events related to the holiday, visit https://thekingcenter.org.
For more information about the Fort McCoy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance contact the Fort McCoy Equal Opportunity Office.
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(Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.)