January 15th, 2013
We may celebrate the day on Monday, and some may call January 16th Martin Luther King Jr. day, but his official birthday is actually today.
He is best known for advocating peaceful resolutions of differences, and his 17 minute speech in 1963 in Washington is probably his best quoted:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today
Martin Luther King Jr was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.His legal name at birth was “Michael King” and his father changed his name from Michael to Martin, so MLK Jr. changed his as well.
He was precocious student and skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grade entering Morehouse College at age 15 without formally graduating from high school.
At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. Observed for the first time on January 20, 1986, it is called Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Following President George H. W. Bush’s 1992 proclamation, the holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near the time of King’s birthday. On January 17, 2000, for the first time, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially observed in all fifty U.S. states. Arizona (1992), New Hampshire (1999) and Utah (2000) were the last three states to recognize the holiday.
In 1977, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was posthumously awarded to King by President Jimmy Carter. The citation read:
“Martin Luther King, Jr., was the conscience of his generation. He gazed upon the great wall of segregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down. From the pain and exhaustion of his fight to fulfill the promises of our founding fathers for our humblest citizens, he wrung his eloquent statement of his dream for America. He made our nation stronger because he made it better. His dream sustains us yet.”
King and his wife were also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vegetarian, a fan of the original Star Trek television series from 1966 and is the influence behind U2’s song “Pride (In the Name of Love)”.
Want to read more? Look for these in your local library: