MLK Day Resource Page

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. Visit MLKDay.gov.

Service Project Planning

About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era. His lectures and dialogues stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation. The movements and marches he led brought significant changes in the fabric of American life through his courage and selfless devotion. This devotion gave direction to thirteen years of civil rights activities. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.

Dr. King’s concept of “somebodiness,” which symbolized the celebration of human worth and the conquest of subjugation, gave black and poor people hope and a sense of dignity. His strategies for rational and non-destructive social change, galvanized the conscience of this nation and reordered its priorities. His wisdom, his words, his actions, his commitment, and his dream for a new way of life are intertwined with the American experience.

During the 1950s and ’60s, Dr. King recognized the power of service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals. Initiated by Congress in 1994, King Day of Service builds on that legacy by transforming the federal holiday honoring Dr. King into a national day of community service grounded in his teachings of nonviolence and social justice. The aim is to make the holiday a day ON, where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and move our nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned.

As we turn our attention to the King Holiday and pause to remember the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. it is especially important to connect the King Day of Service intentionally with the principles upon which Dr. King built his life, his service, and the movement that he championed—the principles of nonviolence. He believed that applying the principles of nonviolence in all areas of one’s life would ultimately bring about the Beloved Community, the end goal of nonviolence, where differences are resolved peaceably and reconciliation occurs among adversaries.

We invite every Oregon resident to follow fundamental steps in Dr. King’s vision for nonviolent social change: information gathering, education, personal commitment, negotiations, direct action, and reconciliation. What better learning mechanism can there be than one in which every one can be actively engaged in their community?

Together, we can build on the teachings of Dr. King through engagement in service projects that will take place across the state, or through studying his teachings with your family, your friends, your neighbors and others as a first step in creating personal actions that will move us all toward making that Beloved Community a reality.

Educational Resources

Noted Speeches

Additional Resources

  • Facing History Ourselves: Helping classrooms and communities worldwide link the past to moral choices today.

  • Teaching Tolerance

  • King Research and Education Institute: Building upon the achievements of Stanford University's Martin Luther King Jr., Papers Project, the King Research and Education Institute provides an institutional home for a broad range of activities illuminating the Nobel Peace laureate's life and the movements he inspired.

  • The King Center: Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, The King Center is the official living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., leader of America's greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace.

  • Teaching Tolerance Hidden Bias Test: Recent scientific research has demonstrated that biases thought to be absent or extinguished remain as "mental residue" in most of us. Studies show people can be consciously committed to egalitarianism and deliberately work to behave without prejudice, yet still possess hidden negative prejudices or stereotypes. So even though we believe we see and treat people as equals, hidden biases may still influence our perceptions and actions. Psychologists at Havard, Yale, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington created "Project Implicit" to develop Hidden Bias Tests-called Implicit Association Tests, or IATs, in the academic world-to measure unconscious bias. Take a test and see what may be lingering in your psyche. After taking a test, read Tolerance.org's tutorial to learn more about stereotypes and prejudice and the societal effects of bias.