I remember when today was made a national holiday. I was in the 7th grade and had Mr. P for social studies. We called him Mr. P, well, because he asked. But I think it had something to do with his surname being something French that started with "P" and ended with "-eaux" and was completely unpronouncable. Mr. P was black and it's from him that I get my thoughts about today being a holiday.
Before 7th grade, most of the blacks at our school would skip out on Dr. King's birthday. And, I think that's part of the reason why it's a holiday today. I believe the thought process was "well a high percentage of the people aren't showing up for work or school, so we might as well give everyone the day off," or along those lines.
Mr. P, and now I, never quite understood why blacks felt the need to take Dr. King's birthday off. Afterall, it was after all his hard work and struggle that the black community, and other minorities, could receive an equal education and equal rights. Dr. King fought predjudice and discrimination so that all people, no matter what race, could receive the best education possible. Isn't it sort of a slap in his face to skip a day of school, denying yourself the education he fought so hard to get for you? Wouldn't his memory best be honored by going to school on his birthday?
Now, I'm not saying the man doesn't deserve to be honored or anything like that. He should be looked up to as a role model and honored as such. I just like the irony...