Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Morgan Herzog

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January. In memory of Dr. King, America set aside this day to honor him. In order to get something done one must have a vision. One must be able to see where they want to go from where they are standing. Dr. King was a man of great vision who inspired millions. His legacy still stands today to be remembered and appreciated.

Dr. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. He attended segregated schools and was a gifted and talented student growing up. At the early age of 15, he attended Morehouse College. He started out studying Medicine and Law and then later changed his mind, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Divinity. Ironically, Dr. King was elected class president in his class of mostly white students.

Proceeding college, he decided to attend graduate school at Boston University. Which is where he achieved his doctorates degree in Systematic Theology. Dr. King then married Coretta Scott and they resided in Montgomery, Alabama. Over the years the two had four children. The first year living there, the family experienced what would later be called the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Dr. King became the spokesman and protest leader for this Civil Rights Movement. After the Boycott’s success, Dr. King and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. This group wanted equality amongst their people without resorting to violence. He was the President of this Conference, meaning that he will travel the world giving speeches raising awareness to the Civil Rights Movement through non-violence.

Later he organized the March on Washington. The purpose of this March was for equal jobs and freedoms. It was also used to spread the word about the injustices of the African American race. This march held approximately 150,000 people who would become a part of this historical moment most famously known for Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech was so powerful, spreading the word that all men are created equal. In 1964, he was the youngest person who had ever won a Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1965, Dr. King led a march to Montgomery. This event was supported by President Lyndon B. Johnson. He sent in federal troops that would keep the peace that day. Later on in the year, in August, the Voting Rights Act was passed. This gave all African Americans the right to vote. Dr. King accomplished many dreams for the Civil Rights Movement. He was later assassinated. Proceeding this horrific day, riots broke out across the country.

President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a national day of mourning. For the next few years there were many campaigns created by his wife, activists, and others. During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, a bill was signed making a U.S. holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., celebrated for the first time in 1986.