Connecticut Commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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As an adult, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about the time he spent working in Connecticut as a teen and how he encountered less segregation in the North. Photo Credit: File
Gov. Dannell Malloy speaks at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the State Capitol in Hartford on Monday. Photo Credit: Gov. Dan Malloy ‏via Twitter @GovMalloyOffice

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – As Connecticut marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman released the following statements honoring the civil rights leader's accomplishments and ConnecticutHistory.org highlighted his roots in the state. 

“I am proud to be the governor of a state that was one of the first to enact an official statewide observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday – 12 years before the date was recognized as a national holiday,” said Malloy. “Dr. King’s timeless message continues to touch the lives of so many contemporary Americans more than 40 years after his death, serving as an inspiration to all of us to undertake what Dr. King called a ‘new revolution of values based on love, compassion and justice’.

"As we reflect on the life of this great man, I am committed to doing my part to honor and carry on Dr. King’s legacy and ask others to join me in working towards Dr. King’s vision of a society that guarantees equality, justice, and freedom for all.”

Wyman echoed that sentiment. “Dr. King’s conviction that each of us should do whatever we can to empower people and strengthen our communities is particularly relevant today as we try to create a new roadmap of opportunity for everyone," Wyman said. "As Dr. King said, ‘Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle - the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.’

"I think the greatest thing we can do to honor Dr. King is to try every day to be passionate and dedicated to achieving the equality that he spoke about – and dreamed about.”

ConnecticutHistory.org reminds residents that King's dream had roots in Connecticut, when he worked as a teenager to earn money. 

"In the summer of 1944 a young Martin Luther King Jr. worked at the Simsbury tobacco farm of Cullman Brothers Inc.," ConnecticutHistory.org posted on its website. "King’s letters home to his mother and father reveal a 15-year-old’s astonishment at the prospects open to African Americans in the comparatively less restrictive North."

In his autobiography, King wrote that his experiences in Connecticut and during the train ride home to Atlanta heightened his awareness of the injustices of segregation:

To read the full post and for more links about King's time in Connecticut, click here for ConnecticutHistory.org.

The Simsbury Historical Society also writes about King's time working in Connecticut as a teenager here

Simsbury High School students produced a video about King's time in Connecticut's tobacco fields. Watch it here at Connecticut History org. 

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Greenbeanie:

I think that only the release of the FBI tapes, of Dr. King and his entourage unwinding in his hotel suites, after a stressful day of demonstrating, can allow us to realize the true dimensions of this great man's stamina and dynamism.

Ken P Jr:

Danny Malloy should note that King was a Republican, a gun owner & was denied a permit to carry by a system very much like the one Malloy runs today. Like so many others we can only wonder if this great man would be alive today had his civil rights not been denied him by his state. Were he alive today I doubt he would have turned into a Democrat & stand beside Jackson or Sharpton, two men who unlike MLK Jr, have chosen to get wealthy off of racism. Rather he would be admonishing them & if in CT fighting side by side with those opposing the laws passed by the Democrats here.