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Yay! Hoje é feriado nacional! Não aqui no Brasil! Mas, lá nos States. Isso mesmo! Hoje é feriado lá na terra do Uncle Sam. Eles hoje celebram o Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, geralmente abreviado para MLK Day. Portanto, que tal ler um texto sobre Martin Luther King e o feriado dedicado a ele? No final do texto abaixo, há algumas perguntas para testar sua compreensão do mesmo. [Se você é professor(a) de inglês e deseja utilizar este texto em suas aulas, baixe o arquivo PDF referente a ele clicando aqui. Por favor, não altere o arquivo e sempre indique a fonte. O Inglês na Ponta da Língua conta com sua ajuda.]
Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister and social activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of a pastor and, just like his father, he also wanted to be a pastor. He studied Theology in several institutions and in 1947 he was ordained. However, he just became minister of a Baptist Church in 1954.
King’s civil right career started in 1955 when he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. In 1957, he organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which gave him a base to pursue further civil-rights activities, first in the South and later nationwide.
He helped to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. This event was one of the most influential political rallies for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. It was on this day that Martin Luther King delivered his most famous speech: “I Have a Dream“. In this 17-minute speech, King called for an end to racism in the United States.
Due to Martin Luther King’s constant work on combating racial inequality through nonviolence, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. On April 4, 1968, he was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel – now a National Civil Rights Museum – in Memphis, Tennessee.
The idea of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations. At first, the idea of a national holiday to honor a private citizen was considered contrary to America’s longstanding tradition. After a lot of debates, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was approved in 1983 but it was first observed on January 20, 1986. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
On Martin Luther King Day (MLK Day) small companies, such as grocery stores and restaurants tend to be open, although a growing number are choosing to close on this day. Recent federal legislation encourages Americans to give some of their time on Martin Luther King Day as volunteers in citizen action groups.