In the United States, people take off from work and school every third Monday of January to celebrate a well-known leader for equality, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He dedicated his life to making the world better as he served as leader for the Civil Rights Movement.
Some celebrate Dr. King by visiting his memorial in Washington D.C. or his home, which is now a museum in Atlanta, Georgia. On this special day, Americans also take time to reflect on their friends and family of all races, just as Dr. King dreamed. If he was alive today, he would once again say, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. His name was not originally “Martin Luther King Jr”. Initially, his name was Michael; however, when his father traveled to Germany in 1934, he was inspired by Martin Luther, a Protestant Reformation leader, and decided to change his and his son’s name to Martin Luther.
Few are aware of what he did for America, besides leading the March on Washington and helping with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He led many protests, such as the controversial protest in 1963 that led him and many others into jail, which jeopardized his reputation with both black and white clergymen. In the same year, he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in DC on August 28, 1963. His final speech, “I’ve Been to The Mountaintop”, was prophetically delivered on April 3, 1968.
“I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land” Dr. King said.
The next day, he was fatally shot on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray, who later pleaded guilty and was sentenced 99 years in prison.
Today, Dr. King’s life and legacy is commemorated nationally. From historic walking tours in Harlem and Brooklyn, discounted admission in Philadelphia’s African American Museums, to joining America’s largest parade in Los Angeles, the Kingdom Day Parade. America has not forgotten the works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.