Martin Luther King, Jr. Day falls on January 18th this year–the third Monday of the month, as always. King has left such a lasting impact on American society that even decades after his assassination in 1968, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest activists in history. To honor the life of this magnificent civil rights leader, let’s take a look at some of his work and achievements.
King was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929, which would make him 92 were he alive today. He graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1951 before pursuing a doctorate in theology from Boston University. A Baptist minister, he married Coretta Scott King at her parents’ home in 1953, and they had four children together.
The Reverend Dr. was a proud co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group that intertwined religion with a drive for civil rights reform. Its members included such revolutionaries as Rosa Parks, who famously refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, saying, “You may do that,” when the driver told her he would call the authorities.
King is most famous for orchestrating these acts of civil disobedience. He and the SCLC often staged marches, sit-ins, and boycotts in the name of racial equality and suffrage during the age of segregation. Notably, the 4-day Selma march of 1965 drew a crowd of around 600 activists and allies.
Today, Martin Luther King, Jr., is seen as an inspiration for the millions of Americans who are still facing injustice. His “I Have a Dream” speech is studied in schools as a beacon of hope. Though it is clear that King’s mission might not have been carried out completely, his life’s work lays the foundation for real, lasting change. This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, take a moment to reflect on the ways you think we can advance as a nation.