Lincoln Alexander and Martin Luther King Jr.

In 2024, Monday January 15th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. Saturday, January 21st is Lincoln Alexander Day in Canada. We are honoured to have lived in their time.

“All I try to do, is to do a job and to do it well.”
Lincoln Alexander

On 28 November 2013, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario declared 21 January of each year Lincoln Alexander Day, citing Alexander’s life as “an example of service, determination and humility”.
On 21 January 2015, Lincoln Alexander Day was observed for the first time across Canada and has been celebrated on the 21st of each year since then.

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, PC CC OOnt CD QC (January 21, 1922 – October 19, 2012) was one of the first Blacks to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force; he later became a lawyer and
• The first Black Member of Parliament in the House of Commons; and
• The first Black federal Cabinet Minister, serving as federal Minister of Labour; and
• The first Black Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Board; and
• The 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1985 to 1991; and
• The first person to serve five terms as Chancellor of the University of Guelph, from 1991 to 2007;and
• 2000 Appointed chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

Photo Credit: Government of Ontario

Alexander’s titles and honors also include:

  • June 4, 1979 – October 19, 2012: Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada (PC)
  • Canada 1985 – October 19, 2012: Knight of the Order of St. John   
  • Canada April 30, 1992 – October 19, 2012: Companion of the Order of Canada  
  • Member of the Order of Ontario (1992)
  • Companion of the Order of Canada (1992)
  • Canadian Forces Decoration (1994)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (1997)
  • Lifetime Achievement, Harry Jerome Awards (2001)
  • Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002)
  • Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.
Martin Luther King Jr.

In the United States, King’s birthday (Jan 15th ) was approved as a federal holiday in 1983, and all 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000, moving the official date to the third Monday in January; in 2024 January 15th is that day – his birthday.

Martin Luther King Jr. , 1964

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his death in 1968.

One could write thousands of words about his life, dedication, commitment, leadership, sense of justice; but perhaps, in 1964, at the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize is a testament that we are all grateful for having lived in his time.

Photo: Martin Luther King 1964, Photo Credit: Sweden, Photographer Unknown, Public Domain