Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Recognizing the Birthday, Life, and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 15th of each year, the anniversary of the birth of activist, clergyman, and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1929 is commemorated as a federal holiday. Dr. King’s tireless work has resulted in substantial positive changes in this nation “to bring greater equality to America and ensure civil rights for all people, regardless of race.” As noted in a statement from the chair of the National Council on Disability (NCD) in 2022, “For the disability community, his work was reflected in the journey of passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), where nonviolent protest and addressing the need for equity helped set the tone of the movement; landmark legislation that likely would not exist without the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The text of the ADA affirms this statement with its assertion that “Disability rights are civil rights.” The Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration is also the only federal holiday designated as a “National Day of Service,” a “day on, not a day off.” It is heralded as a time to start volunteering in a cause, joining in concerted effort to help communities throughout the nation. Many volunteer opportunities are offered locally and on the national level. Some of these may be found through the website for, which features MLK Day virtual and in-person opportunities. The Idealist website also includes volunteer tasks and other locally based volunteer opportunities. One national resource particularly relevant to the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community is By the People, a volunteer transcription program of The Library of Congress. This initiative aims to improve “search, readability, and access to handwritten and typed documents for everyone, including people who are not fully sighted.” Read more about Dr. King and the holiday commemorating his legacy in the NCD Chairman Statement on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the Teach for America article featuring 19 Resources and Ideas to Celebrate the MLK Day of Service.  Additional information about the holiday and Dr. King can be found in coverage in previous articles in this Bulletin including: “Disability Rights Are Civil Rights:” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Impact on Disability Justice; Commemorating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Some Accessible Material; and  Recognizing Martin Luther King Day: Resources.