By: Nick Santangelo

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the College of Liberal Arts wants to hear about how you’re honoring Dr. King’s legacy.

It took nearly 15 years after the civil rights leader’s tragic death, but Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first signed into legislation in 1983 and finally began being observed as a national holiday in 1986. 

But it was in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act. What that means is that today is the only day the United States recognizes as a “day on, not a day off.” In other words, all Americans are asked to do something today to strengthen communities, uplift individuals in need, reach across the differences that divide us and work toward solutions to our shared societal problems.

Do you have Day of Service plans for today? Share them with us on Twitter and/or Instagram!

If you’re not able to participate in the Day of Service—or if you are but want to continue your involvement in effecting social change—join the College of Liberal Arts for next month’s 18th annual Underground Railroad and Black History Conference.

Sponsored by the Department of Africology and African American Studies (AAAS), this year’s event is titled: Camp William Penn and United States Colored Troops: Recruitment, Training & Fight for Freedom.

AAAS Professor Nilgun Anadolu-Okur, who will speak at the conference, says the discussion will cover Black soldiers—both free and enslaved men—answering their nation’s call to service during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. According to Dr. Anadolu-Okur, the Philadelphia Union League and nearby Camp William Penn were “instrumental in recruiting and mustering the U.S. Colored Troops.”

RSVP now to join the February 17 virtual discussion about these troops’ heroism and how their service connects to the civil rights protests of the past year.

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