Today in History: MLK, Rasputin, & Lenin

Today in History: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Image from of Biography.com

Sometimes I like to do a little research on holidays, not only to discover interesting things I didn’t know already about the reason for the celebration, but also to see what else is special about today in history.

Today in History: Martin Luther King Jr.

Did you know that federal legislation encourages Americans to volunteer today in citizen action groups? Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the U.S. Volunteering is a great way to honor Dr. King by getting involved with your local community while building connections with your neighbors! If you’ve done anything particularly notable or noteworthy on the volunteer front, please let me know in the comments.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an important civil rights activist and a leader in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. He advocated for nonviolent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Although he was assassinated in 1968, even now in 2019 his work is not done.

In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, people started campaigning for his birthday to become a holiday in his honor. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions led the campaign for the federal holiday. The US government enacted the holiday into law in 1983 despite opposition from Reagan. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first observed in 1986, although it was not observed in all states until the year 2000!

King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail is one of the most inspiring documents ever created. I have used it to teach my classes about civil rights and ethics. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do!

Today in History: Russian Historical Figures

Today in history: Rasputin’s birthday.

Although MLK Day exists to honor Martin Luther King, it always falls on a Monday, leading to it often changing date. Today, January 21, is also Rasputin‘s birthday … and the day Vladimir Lenin died.

 

Today in History: Lenin’s death.

I had no idea! What a coincidence that two well known figures in Russian history had something so life-altering occur today in history.

In honor of these two fascinating Russians with a common date, I plan to re-read my (current) favorite novel that reminds me of Russia: Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver. Though loosely based on Rumpelstiltskin, that fairy tale is more of a starting point than a true analogue. Honestly, the depiction of winter feels very appropriate for January and a Russia theme than most of the Snow Queen adaptations I’ve read lately. The best of those was probably The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher, which was deeply enjoyable but alas not a full-length novel.

Other novels that make me think of Russia include A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and of course the Kate Daniels series, written by Russian native Ilona Andrews.

How about you?

Eleanor

Eleanor teaches Ancient Civilizations and spends the bits of time left over writing books that bring history -- and magic -- to life. She enjoys rock climbing, bullet journaling, & gardening focused on plants you can actually eat.

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