Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Born on January 15th, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was a social activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement up until his assassination in 1968. Inspired by advocates such as Mahatma Gandhi, he paved the way for nonviolent, peaceful protests during a time of much unrest and violent retaliation. King faced criticism from clergy leaders in Birmingham Alabama because they saw him as an outsider and an agitator, and when King did not refrain from his peaceful protests in Birmingham, he was arrested for civil disobedience. While in jail, he wrote a letter explaining why “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Letter From Birmingham Jail became one of the most important texts of the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-1950’s.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the driving force behind events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, which helped bring about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
One of his most memorable contributions to the Civil Rights Movement was his most famous address, known as the “I Have a Dream” speech. King drew in a crowd of around 250,000 with this speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. where he shed light on the injustices African Americans continued to face across the country.
Members of Congress in 1983, including President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a U.S. federal holiday in honor of King, and is observed on the third Monday of January. King is remembered for his perseverance through the hardships he had to face to bring about such landmark legislation. We can keep King’s actions alive by mirroring his perseverance for what we believe is right, and by keeping our righteous principles intact.
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