Martin Luther King Jr’s 93rd Birthday

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Martin Luther King Jr.

Cass Soldate, Journalist

January 15th marks the day that the most recognized spokesman and leader in the American civil rights movement of 1955 was born. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist until his assassination in 1968. King, Jr., to this day, is most notable for his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in 1963. He spoke of his dream of a United States revoked of racism and segregation. Not only this, but King, Jr. was also a considerable contributor and supporter of the Civil Rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King, Jr. was a firm believer in nonviolent protests and made sure his supporters followed him in this quest. In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was an organization formed to provide new leadership. Between 1957 and 1968, King Jr. traveled over six million miles and spoke about twenty-five hundred times, speaking wherever there was protest and injustice. Overall, he wrote five books as well as numerous articles.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t carry just a piece of cloth to symbolize his belief in racial equality; he carried the American flag,” says Adrian Cronauer, a radio personality.

King, Jr. was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize at just thirty-five of age. When informed of this, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the civil rights movement. King, Jr. inspired and motivated many across the world.

Pullquote Photo

The time is always right to do what is right.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

While standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, on the evening of April 4th, 1968, where he was to lead a protest, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Riots, also known as the Holy Week uprising, broke out over 100 American cities. A wave of civil disturbance swept the United States following the assassination. Some of the biggest riots took place in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and Kansas City.

“When he died, I think something died in all of us. Something died in America. Each day I think we must find a way, to dream and dream that he dreamed. And build on what he left all of us,” says civil rights leader, Representative John Lewis, as he reflects on the life and lessons of Martin Luther King, Jr.