JOPLIN, Mo. — Most national holidays are celebrated with rest and relaxation.

But not the one we celebrate today.

Although he was actually born on January 15th, Martin Luther King Junior Day is celebrated across the country the following Monday.

Prior to being shot and killed by James Earl Ray, the civil rights icon advanced the cause of civil rights through a series of marches, peaceful protests, and civil disobedience.

Joplin’s own Langston Hughes, as it turns out, was inspired by the work of Dr. King and King was inspired by Hughes poetry. But King’s impact goes beyond that in the Joplin community.

“If you’re not helping someone who has less than you, you’re doing it wrong. You’re doing it wrong because that’s what Martin Luther King was all about, helping those that need help, that don’t have as much as you in whatever way that can be,” said Nanda Nunnelly, inspired by MLK.

His life of service to others has inspired Nunnelly to give back to her community in several ways: as a voting rights activist, finding housing for the homeless, and as president of the Minnie Hackney Community Service Center, promoting minority owned businesses.

Her father used to quote Dr. King to her on a daily basis.

“Always, always deal in love. Always deal in love. Even those that hate you, even those that treat you bad, deal in love.”

Patsey Robinson remembers what life was like before desegregation and the role King played in helping to change that.

“It has improved, I can say that, it has improved to a degree. That yes, I can see it, but yet still things are happening that should not still be happening. It most definitely should be better,” said Robinson, inspired by MLK.