All YPL locations will be closed Sunday, Feb. 12 & Monday, Feb. 13 in observance of Lincoln’s Birthday and Sunday, Feb. 19 & Monday, Feb. 20 in observance of Washington’s Birthday.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a celebration of the life and legacy of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The first federally recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated in 1986, but it wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 made it a state government holiday. It is observed on the third Monday in January. 

Dr. King was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Morehouse College and studied medicine and law, but ultimately he became a minister. He earned a doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University, where he met his wife. Dr. King and his family settled in Montgomery, Alabama. 

In 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott captured the nation after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger. Dr. King became the official spokesperson for the protest. In 1957, Dr. King and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and organized nonviolent protests to fight for racial equality for Black Americans. 

Dr. King was influential in organizing the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs in August 1963. It was here at the Lincoln Memorial that Dr. King gave one of his most famous speeches – “I Have a Dream.” This nearly 7-minute speech was delivered to an estimated audience of 250,000 people, but resonated throughout the country and has continued to remain relevant today.

Due to the efforts of Dr. King and the dedicated work of other civil rights leaders like John Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, Dorothy I. Height, and Whitney Young Jr., the Civil Rights Act was signed into law in 1964.

On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His efforts promoting nonviolent protests in pursuit of civil rights and equality for Black Americans are celebrated in many ways. Americorps invites Americans to volunteer in their local communities for the MLK Day of Service to honor Dr. King’s legacy of social justice and equality while serving others and taking constructive action. 

The City of Yonkers is also holding a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Poem/Video Contest. Elementary and middle school students are invited to write a poem about Dr. Martin Luther King, and high school students are invited to submit a 3-5 minute video depicting how African Americans have fought repression in America.

If you want to learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, check out some of these books from your local library.

If there’s a young reader in your life, be sure to check out some of these books about Dr. King’s legacy as well.

Alison Robles is a part-time clerk at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for YA lit, history and science fiction. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations.

Michael Walsh is an adult services librarian at the Will Library.