UPDATED 7:09 AM PT – Monday, January 18, 2021
Half a century has passed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered some of the most endearingly inspirational words in the history of mankind.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill reserving the third Monday in January to honor the birth of one of greatest leaders.
King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King who was a former schoolteacher.
After receiving his doctoral degree in systematic theology from Boston University, King Jr. became a pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The city later became the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, following the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.
While other factions of the Civil Rights Movement were pushing for the aggressive shake-up of the American political system, the Georgia pastor championed a motto which encouraged his followers to protest non-violently. His philosophy of non-violent protest was utilized during sit-ins of 1963 and the marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
During that time, on August 28, 1963, he delivered the famous “I have a dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of over 200,000 people, which cemented him as perhaps the most prominent civil rights leader in history.
“I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” stated Dr. King Jr.. “I have a dream today!”
Later that year, he was named Times’ ‘Man of the Year’ and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He continued to pursue his mission of civil rights until April 4, 1968 when he was shot and killed on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
On that day, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a national day of mourning and pushed for the passage of the Civil Rights Act by the end of the year. Dr. King Jr’s. legacy lives on to this day.
“We embrace the vision of Martin Luther King, where children are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” stated President Donald Trump.
Those who want to honor the reverend can do so at the monument erected in his honor, which is not far from where he shared with the world his dream for a brighter future.