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MLK Day holds new meaning for many following last year's protests

Racial Injustice March On Washington
Posted at 2:29 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 14:29:00-05

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day might have a different meaning for many this year.

That's because, in 2020, the U.S. faced racial tensions similar to those King experienced during his lifetime.

America also said farewell to civil rights activist and King's friend John Lewis last year.

On Monday, many will commemorate the federal holiday by participating in a day of service — just like King and Lewis did when they were alive.

President-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris both participated in days of service Monday, two days ahead of their inauguration.

MLK Day is celebrated each year on the third Monday in January. It became a national celebration on Jan. 20, 1986. The declaration was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

On Aug. 23, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday and Service Act.

To remember the icon, best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience, many usually visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in D.C.

However, the National Mall is closed through Thursday due to security concerns following the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol building and ahead of Wednesday's inauguration.