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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Monday is a holiday – How do you abbr it? January 12, 2007 8:35 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Holiday
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So, my son quips that Monday is "Martin King Luther Day" but before I can correct him it becomes evident that he is making fun of our dry erase calendar by the front door that is clearly marked "MKL." So when I wake the teen girl I ask for an explanation. She says, "I know it is Martin Luther King Day but Granny told me you abbreviate it MKL and that’s how it is written on our church bulletin."

For a little over a decade I threw a party the Saturday of Martin Luther King’s birthday never thinking that it could be construed as of a bunch white boys debaucherously celebrating the death of a black civil rights leader. It was just an excuse for a handful of friends to get loopy. It just happened to be a 3 day weekend for most people and an easy date to remember. These defunct parties are a huge source of contention between Cathy and I so I will say no more other than we always referred to the holiday as MLK weekend when not directly calling it The Long Island Tea Party aka The LIT.

Time to do some searching. Hmmm. It appears that the City of Bettendorf Indiana does indeed respect MKL day (as seen in the <title> of their press release). Ah! Looks like Stacy is looking for some ski buddies for MKL day. She’s got some decent slopes (Keystone and Copper). Raw Dogma references MKL Day as its source but does not actually link to the source or make the source findable in anyway. The Asbury Seminary will not hold classes on MKL Day. Oh no! Am I detecting a trend between "church bulletins" and seminary’s slighting Martin Luther King by intentionally getting his initials wrong? Surely not! Buckman Arts Magnet Elementary School is also closed for MKL Day. And Psychology 2606 at the University of Colorado at Boulder is closing for MKL Day.

In 1983, the 98th Congress passed Public Law 98-144 to honor the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. This was first celebrated as a Federal legal holiday on January 20, 1986 and has been observed on the third Monday of January since that time. Congress’ intention was that the holiday “serve as a time for Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr.” (36 USC, Section 169j). [Source]

Conclusion: my hypothesis is that people have made a typo abbreviating Martin Luther King, Jr’s name as MKL instead of MLK. Because this has made it into church bulletins and references that people respect without question, some people have accepted MKL as the abbreviation. My conspiracy theory above was a joke. I don’t really believe there is an underground racist movement to disrespect the holiday, or the man, by intentionally getting his initials wrong. I could not find anything that definitely abbreviated the holiday as either MKL or MLK. Perhaps there is a conflict in the abbreviation MLK and indeed MKL could be the "official" abbreviation (but I doubt it).

Our world has changed dramatically in the past 50 years. It wasn’t that long ago (1877 to mid 1960s) that people of different race ate in different sections of restaurants, used separate bathrooms, and even had separate water fountains. There are racial inequalities that still exist and social reform that still needs to happen. I think some of our current political leaders would like to see social reform go backwards (maybe not racially speaking but ideologically speaking). I think our near future holds revolutions to be had in economic injustices, educational reforms, and other non-racial issues. So is this just another 3 day weekend for you? Or will you take "time … to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr.?"

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1. cathy - January 12, 2007

I told you you’d make a post about LIT parties. It’s tucked in there, but it’s there.

2. jonathan hickman - January 12, 2007

Wait, you get off for MLK day?

Must be nice.

3. jonathan hickman - January 12, 2007

Yeah, and I want to know more about these parties Cathy hates so much.

4. Cathy - January 12, 2007

I don’t hate the parties. Doug and I disagree because he won’t be honest with himself about the original reason for them and what they became over time. Other people hate me because I Pluto’d the parties occuring here with children in the house.

5. jonathan hickman - January 12, 2007

You mean you think the original reason was to celebrate the death of a civil rights leader?

And how does this make you feel, Doug?

(Did you know I majored in psychology in college?)

6. Cathy - January 12, 2007

and I dual majored in Psychology/Sociology, so I know that Doug is going to defend his parties when he gets home from his haircut (hooray!) and reads all this. BTW Jon, you are MUCH nicer than I am to the trolls.

7. jonathan hickman - January 12, 2007

I actually dual majored in Psychology/History and minored in English, not that I’m bragging.

As for the trolls, I generally give people the benefit of the doubt. But I don’t recall seeing a lot of trolls lately.

8. jonathan hickman - January 12, 2007

Are you talking about Katie’s blog?

9. Cathy - January 12, 2007

She follows your blog, Katie’s and all the blogs you read.

10. Cathy - January 12, 2007

Oh, just to fill Doug’s post with comments, I dual majored in Psychology/Sociology and minored in Theater for my first degree. I would have gotten my teaching certification if I had spent a year doing student teaching. My second degree would be in Human Services with a minor in Interpreting if I would just take a year of World History.

11. jonathan hickman - January 12, 2007

My second degree would be accounting if I had done a little better on my finals one semester (why is it my grades were always great until I was in the one program where there was a grade requirement?).

World history is easy. You just have to find the right prof.

12. JayMonster - January 12, 2007

Was there a point here somewhere?

That seemed like an awful lot of thought for some mis-typed initials.

Or is Cathy right, and it was nothing but a cover for the LIT parties.

13. djuggler - January 12, 2007

Well now… Jay knows how to draw me out! No hidden LIT message. Just some blathering over some mistyped initials.

14. jeni - January 12, 2007

Speaking of abbreviations, IA is Iowa, not Indiana….get yourself a new map.. (Bettendorf is part of the Quad Cities which also included Davenport.)

15. djuggler - January 13, 2007

Oops. I should have taken a couple of seconds to confirm that but I guessed. The other day I was wondering if I could get the states and capitals right.


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