The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a meeting with President Lyndon Johnson at the White House in 1966. Photo: Yoichi Okamoto/Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (public domain via Wikimedia Commons.)

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a state and federal holiday commemorating the birth of the great American civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

King was was born Jan. 15, 1929, the son of a clergyman. Pastor, missionary and one of the most gifted orators in American history, King became the leader of the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he adopted Gandhi’s method of nonviolent resistance as “the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.”

King organized and led marches and sit-ins in Alabama and the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. King received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964. In the late 1960s he expanded his work to focus on poverty and the Vietnam War.

King was assassinated by a sniper on April 4, 1968, standing on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tenn. James Earl Ray, an escaped convict, confessed and pleaded guilty in the killing. He was sentenced to life in prison and died there on April 23, 1998.

A federal holiday honoring King was signed into law on Nov. 2, 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. It was observed for the first time in 1986. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

Holiday closings

All government offices, courts and schools are closed.

Banks are closed. Th N.Y. Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and all bond markets are closed.

All post offices are closed. There is no mail delivery.

UPS regular domestic ground and air delivery service is open. UPS stores are open. FedEx will also be delivering and picking up. FedEx stores are open.

Municipal trash collection in Riverhead will follow its normal schedule today.

Riverhead Free Library is closed.

The LIRR is operating on a regular weekday schedule today, with off-peak fares in effect all day.  

The S92 bus will operate on a regular weekday schedule today. The 8A bus will operate on a Saturday schedule.

Also operating on a regular weekday schedule today are the S20, S23, S25, S31, S33, S41, S56, S60, S62, S66, S68. S69, S76 and 10C. The S1 will operate on a modified schedule, every half-hour. The Suffolk Clipper will operate on a regular schedule today. All other Suffolk County Transit buses will operate on a Saturday schedule. See schedules here.

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