Honoring the Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
A Collection of Greek/American Narratives
Approved as a federal holiday in 1983, first observed in 1986, and made a state government holiday in all 50 states by 2000, Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the legacy of Dr. King (1929–1968) for his civil rights ideals and activism. The country designates the third Monday of January every year as a day for memory, reflection, and learning about this outstanding figure. It invites citizens to embrace or renew their commitment to the civic values that Dr. King and the social movement he spurred on represent.
To honor this day, Ergon features personal narratives by Greek/American educators and citizens who share thoughts about the significance of this commemoration for their person or their communities. Contributors were asked to explore the topic from any angle they deemed relevant, and encouraged to probe questions such as “How will I honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day and why?” How have I honored this day in the past, and to what effect?” “What is the significance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day for Greek America?”
The purpose of this modest tribute is consistent with the civic scope of this public holiday: to draw Dr. King’s vision from the past into the present so that we might continue the conversation and practice of advancing the cause of civil rights. The collection offers a document for the present and a vision for the future. It focuses attention to how a host of Greek/American citizens place themselves in connection to this commemoration and how they envision the collective in the struggle against structural racism and toward interracial solidarity.
The writings collected here capture a key principle in the allegiance to this vision. Acts of citizenship honoring Dr. King require more than the observation of commemorative rituals. They involve continuous civic work. Along these lines, Ergon offers this commemoration as part of its ongoing commitment to the understanding of the history and the present of Greek/American – Black American interconnections.
Contributors • Joanna Eleftheriou • Dan Georgakas • Gregory Jusdanis • Maria Kaliambou • Alexandra Kostoulas • Despina Lalaki • Panayotis League • Artemis Leontis • Eric Poulos • Fevronia Soumakis • George Syrimis • Elaine Thomopoulos