Many Mississippians are taking time off today to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. And some are saying recent high-profile protest make honoring his memory even more important.
At a Martin Luther King Convocation at Jackson State University a large crowd sings the civil rights anthem 'We Shall Overcome'.
The goal, much like today's holiday, is to honor the tremendous impact King had on American society.
Many in the crowd say recent, massive protest over police killings of unarmed black men show that the country is still confronting its history of racism
Civil Rights Scholar Paula Giddings of Smith College says America has a long way to go to become a 'post-racial society'.
"And of course the most painful thing is to think about voting rights laws being turned back under a black president. And so much work to do. And because of people like (King) we are inspired. We know what we have to do and we will do it," Giddings said.
Several in the crowd echoed Giddings, saying the protests show that America is still confronting the legacy of racism and bigotry.
Kaylyn Casin is a senior at JSU.
"Especially with everything that is going on in today's society, it is important that we remember what he stood for. And that we need to continue keeping that dream in order to make things better for us," Casin said.
Many Mississippians will use the holiday to perform acts of service in Dr. King's memory.