Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the historical civil rights leader. His birthday is actually on January 15, but is observed on the third Monday of January each year. King was an American Baptist minister and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.
King is best known for his role in civil rights in using nonviolent civil disobedience which were based on his Christian beliefs. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and served as its first president.
He helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1963 he helped organize the March on Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
In October 1964, King was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. During the final years of his life, he expanded his focus towards improving poverty levels and the Vietnam War.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., called the Poor Peoples Campaign. However, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee before that event took place.
Martin Luther King was awarded two honors posthumously – the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
The federal holiday to honor Dr. King was created by a bill signed by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.
A point of interest – King’s legal name at birth was Michael instead of Martin (his father’s name was Michael as well). The elder King changed his and his son’s name in honor of the German reformer Martin Luther after attending the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin in 1943.
To celebrate this special day, King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech text can be found by clicking the link provided below.
Click Link for “I Have a Dream” speech.