It's very interesting when you think about it. While I have yet to work at a company that observes Martin Luther King Day, it has an interesting significance compared to the other "Days" on the calendar. I recognize that once upon a time George Washington's birthday and Abraham Lincoln's birthday were honored separately and they have now been rolled into one generic President's Day, but nonetheless at this point in time Americans have two Days that are about one person - MLK Day, and Columbus Day. (I recognize that for some people, Christmas falls into this group, but since that is only the case for some people, I am leaving it out.) Certainly there are other days about people, but they are broader. And it is interesting and weird to put Columbus - a guy who bravely got in a boat and sailed for a while, but clearly needed to bring a globe with him since he thought he was in India, and named the native peoples Indians - in the same category with King who became a leader in a movement - a person who believed in non-violence and strove for racial equality who was tragically and a bit ironically assassinated.
But my point is, that it is quite cool that one of the two people we have graced with such specific honor was someone who wanted equality, that so simple yet so difficult to achieve thing. Just the chance for everyone to succeed of fail on their own merits.
King quotes found on about.com:
"Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody."
"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."
"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."
"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."
"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."