Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States is celebrated the third Monday in January. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist Minister who advocated non-violent means to end racial segregation and inequality. He was born in January 15, 1929 at Atlanta, Georgia and died at the age of 39, April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was an out spoken leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He helped organize the 1963 march on Washington, D.C. where he delivered his “I have a dream“ speech at the Lincoln Memorial. In 1964, Rev. King also won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through non-violent resistance. Rev. King was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2003.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was dedicated in 2011. His list of accomplishments are many, but I think his most famous speech in Washington, August 28, 1963 where he makes direct references to the American Dream of freedom and he gave his most famous and moving speech called “I have a dream.” From what I have read, Rev. King put down his planned speech and spoke from his heart. Within the speech he says, “We cannot be satisfied as long as a negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a negro in New York City thinks he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” And in his Nobel Peace Prize speech he states “I am still convinced that non-violence is the most practical, sound and morally excellent way to grapple with the age-old problem of racial injustice.”
Many of Rev. King’s words reverberate within many arenas. This three (3) day weekend maybe an opportunity to take a few moments to think how we can help another in some small way. The concept of giving and gratitude helps heal.