Martin Luther King III said the nation should observe the holiday honoring his father, but it's too soon to celebrate it.
Thirty-three years after his father's assassination in Memphis, Martin Luther King Jr.'s goal of eliminating racism, poverty and violence remains a dream, his son said.
"In our minds, a celebration is when we kind of kick back, eat barbecue, chill and not really do anything. That is what a holiday is," he told a King holiday forum sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville.
"But we have not reached the point in my personal judgment of having a holiday or a celebration."
The holiday will be observed on Monday. King, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, would have been 73 this past Tuesday.
His son said his father's holiday should be observed by "doing something that will uplift the dream." Among his suggestions: visiting a senior citizen, helping build a house for a poor family, joining a campaign to clean up a neighborhood or doing other good works.
"This is a day on, not a day off," he said.