During this week in 1759, Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland. A writer and lyricist devoted to the representation of the lives and opinions of ordinary Scots and the assertion of Scottish cultural independence and identity, he is celebrated worldwide by people of Scottish descent on the anniversary of his birthday, January 25. In Georgia, the Burns Club of Atlanta upholds this tribute to their favorite son, and has continued this tradition since 1898. At the beginning of the twentieth century, these Atlanta-area Scots took a step further to honor the memory of Burns and his work–in 1910 members of the club researched the exact measurements of Burns’ birthplace in Scotland and built a facsimile of the structure out of Georgia granite. Burns Cottage continues to stand in Atlanta’s historic Grant Park neighborhood, where it is still under the private ownership of the Burns Club of Atlanta. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 (see #83003572).
The picture postcard of Burns Cottage and the Burns Club grounds seen here can be found in the Georgia Archives’ Historic Postcard Collection, RG 48-2-5; a small portrait of Burns is displayed inside a small oval inset at the top right corner of the card.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday that honors the memory of the most prominent African American leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s on his birthday (this year, Dr. King would have been 83 years old). The holiday was first observed in 1986, after years of effort led by King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, to establish it. In 1994, Congress designated the federal holiday as a national day of service with a law co-authored by civil rights veteran and U.S. representative from Georgia John Lewis. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, and celebrates the legacy of Dr. King by encouraging Americans to participate in community service projects that address social problems.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. King, the Civil Rights Digital Library includes primary sources and other reference resources related to his life and work. These materials come from 61 archival collections belonging to libraries, archives, museums and public broadcasters across the country; there is also instructional content available from 10 different educator resources. All of this material is available at http://crdl.usg.edu/people/k/king_martin_luther_jr_1929_1968/.