Thursday, January 15, 2009


Martin Luther King, Jr.

was born on this day in 1929. His lifelong goal was to bring about social, political and economic equality for blacks. In the quest for his ideals, he became one of the greatest civil rights leaders of the 20th century. A Baptist minister (as were his father and grandfather before him), he preached ‘nonviolent resistance’ to achieve full civil rights for all.

Leading the African-American struggle for equality through nonviolent demonstrations was what earned King the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

In spite of his nonviolent preachings, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the target of violence on several occasions. His home was bombed in Montgomery, Alabama; he was stabbed while in New York City, had stones thrown at him in Chicago and, ultimately, was assassinated (age 39) by a hidden rifleman, in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday has been a public holiday in the United States since 1986, commemorated on the 3rd Monday in January.

King wrote five books espousing his philosophy: Stride Toward Freedom [1958], Strength to Love [1963], Why We Can’t Wait [1964], Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? [1967] and The Trumpet of Conscience [1968].

On August 28, 1963 more than 200,000 people marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and, as millions more watched on television, King addressed the throng saying, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’”



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