Today’s Doodle celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day or MLK Day in the United States, and was illustrated by Brooklyn-based guest artist Richard A. Chance. The national day of service honors Dr. King — the late civil rights movement leader and activist who was a lifelong advocate for social and racial equality.
Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. From a young age he was heavily influenced by his father — a pastor and community organizer — and eventually began his own career of service in Montgomery, Alabama as a community leader in the NAACP. In 1955, Dr. King helped lead the Montgomery bus boycott after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat and violated local Jim Crow laws in Alabama. These peaceful protests — which are widely considered the first mass demonstration against segregation — lasted for 385 days and gained national attention.
He continued to spearhead some of America’s most groundbreaking social justice demonstrations. In 1963, more than 200,000 demonstrators marched towards the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to protest economic and racial inequality. This March on Washington is one of the most famous acts of the Civil Rights Movement, and it is where Dr. King delivered his exalted “I Have a Dream” speech. It remains one of the largest rallies for human rights in the U.S. and is credited for helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also participated in the Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965 to advocate for equal voting rights. That same year, the Voting Rights Act was passed.
Dr. King was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. In honor of his birthday, MLK Day is celebrated on the third week of January every year. It was signed into law in 1983 and has been celebrated by all 50 states since 2000.
Today and everyday, Dr. King’s dream lives on in the hearts of millions of Americans who are taking action and giving back to their communities. Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Guest Artist Q&A with Richard A. Chance
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Brooklyn-based guest artist Richard A. Chance. Below, he shares his thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q. Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A: I first learned of Martin Luther King when I was in kindergarten — it was a picture of him alongside other historically significant black activists in the elementary school I went to. There was also a bust of him in this park I went to as a kid as well as the street names I previously lived on. His presence was around me at multiple stages of my life. Learning about MLK’s life made past references of him very memorable — so memorable that I even remember the grade I received when I did a biography about him.
Q. What were your first thoughts when you were approached about working on this Doodle?
A: I wanted to make something that was different than the previous years. I also wanted to make it more of a city scene.
Q. Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: Martin Luther King Place is a street I walk past a lot. There were wheat pasted posters on the wall across from a housing complex there which gave me that idea to make it a scene of people putting up a poster.
Q. What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: I wanted people to have a similar experience I had when I first saw MLK in elementary school — intrigue and curiosity.