As observed every year on the third Monday of January, today marks the 37th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

While Elon University does not have classes Jan. 16, the federal holiday is more than just a day off — it’s an opportunity to reflect and commemorate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who would have been 94 Jan. 15. 

Leading up to the holiday and continuing into this week, the university-hosted events, including movie viewings and service opportunities, honor King through the theme of “Let Freedom Reign.”  The theme celebrates  King, his identity and bequest, allowing for the Elon community to see what an impact he has made on social justice for his name to be remembered and celebrated. 

Sophomore Grayson Thompson said these events are for everyone to enjoy and be educated by and that getting the most out of these encounters is what truly matters. 

“It's to get to know the whole experience,” Thompson said. “What he did for people, not just Black people, but in general for the human race.” 

The events hosted during this time serve as a reminder of King’s legacy, while providing a space to learn, understand and reflect. 

Thompson said he is thankful for the inspiration given to him by King, who’s hard and fearless work changed America. 

“I want to change the world in some way,” Thompson said. “So I do YouTube and stuff like that …to help other people out. …  I want to speak up for them and then do certain things that people want to do so I could inspire.”

Thompson said this holiday gains respect and recognition to honor the bravery of King. 

“To give him respect for what he did because not a lot of people would do that,” Thompson said. “They don't have the will or power to do it.” 


Jan. 17, 5 to 6:30 p.m. 

National Day of Racial Healing: #HowWeHeal Dinner Dialogue 

McKinnon E&F

Jan. 18, noon to 6 p.m. 

American Red Cross Blood Drive

Alumni Gym 

Jan. 19, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

United Way Community Resource Distribution 

Jan. 20, 2:30 to 6 p.m.

Boys and Girls Club After-School Program

Boys and Girls Club of Alamance County