Transforming a Day by Transforming Your Community: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The celebration of Martin Luther King’s life and work is recognized with a day off of work across the country. But is this the best way to honor King’s memory? 

King believed in service as a powerful force for good in the world, and he  dedicated his life to the service of others as a beacon of what might be possible through extending a hand to those in need. 

The national holiday commemorating King’s birthday was established in 1983, but the day of remembrance was re-constituted as Martin Luther King’s National Day of Service. This transformation was spearheaded by the late Atlanta Rep. John Lewis and U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

This new vision for the holiday as a “day on, not a day off,” is more in line with the principles by which King lived his life, and is an annual reminder to keep his spirit of civil engagement alive.

Coretta Scott King explained, “The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.”

The National Martin Luther King Day of Service is organized every year by AmeriCorps, but students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to engage with the local community through MBU’s efforts.

On January 15, all students should plan to join Mary Baldwin’s VWIL Corps and the MBU Band for a community service project to honor  King’s memory. Please dress warmly and meet at the Student Activities Center (SAC) at 9 a.m. on January 15.

The MBU community is invited to additional events in honor of King day:

Students, faculty, and staff can join a movie and discussion at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 14 at Francis Auditorium.

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to Miller Chapel at 1 p.m. no Monday, January 15 for a presentation from Dr. Amy Tillerson-Brown “A School Bus, a Train and a Tragedy: The 1961 Elam’s Crossing Train Wreck and King’s Hope for Beloved Community”

Students are welcome to attend the workshop How to Navigate Microaggressions on Campus Christina Harris, facilitator Samuel and Ava Spencer Center on January 18th from 12:15-1:05.

All MBU Community Members may attend the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Vesper Service for Peace and Justice at Central United Methodist Church (14 N Lewis St) at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 15.

All MBU Community Members may attend the National Day of Racial Healing Virtual Lunch and Learn sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. To register, visit