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This year, celebrating the true meaning Martin Luther King Jr. day is more important than ever. You might know a few basic facts about King — who hasn't heard audio of his "I Have a Dream Speech" — and the holiday that we've been observing since 1983 in his honor — like the fact that it's always held on the third Monday in January, but as any good history class (or nonfiction book) tells us, there's more to a single hero or day than you might think.

According to Coretta Scott King, King's widow:

We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles.

You can thank Coretta Scott King for a lot — certainly for keeping her husband's legacy alive. In a completely inspiring, brave, and undaunted move, she founded The King Center in 1969, one year after her husband's murder, in the basement of the family home in Vine City, Georgia.

What you only maybe have taken part in are the national "teach-ins" associated with the holiday, but there's no need to not remedy that on your own. In fact, today is a perfect time to educate yourself, by listening to King's words, by attending a gathering or celebration in his honor, or by reading poetry. Coretta Scott King described the holiday as an opportunity to "[make] your personal commitment to serve humanity. These 7 poems, perfect for honoring the mission of Martin Luther King Jr., will help you do just that.

"won't you celebrate with me" by Lucille Clifton

Antonio Ron/Unsplash

what did i see to be except myself?

i made it up

here on this bridge between

starshine and clay

Click here to read.

"RIOT" by Gwnedolyn Brooks

Nicole Mason/Unsplash

There is a moment in Camaraderie

when interruption is not to be understood.

I cannot bear an interruption.

This is the shining joy; the time of not-to-end.

Click here to read.

"Microwave Popcorn" by Harmony Holiday

MC Jefferson Agloro/Unsplash

A bird gets along beautifully in the air, but once she is on the    

ground that special equipment hampers her a great deal.

Click here to read.

"In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr." by June Jordan

Ryan Jimenez/Unsplash

honey people murder mercy U.S.A.  

the milkland turn to monsters teach  

to kill to violate pull down destroy  

the weakly freedom growing fruit  

from being born

Click here to read.

"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

Despo Potamou/Unsplash

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Click here to read.

"Shafro" by Terrence Hayes

Ruben Engel/Unsplash

Bits of my courage flake away like dandruff.

I’m sweating even as I tell you this,

I’m not cool,

I keep the real me tucked beneath a wig,

I’m a small American frog.

I grow beautiful as the theatre dims.

Click here to read.

"One Today" by Richard Blanco

Roman Mager/Unsplash

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,

the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:

equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,

the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming

Click here to read.