The most visible figure in the Civil Rights movement, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored across the country annually on the third Monday in January with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, the holiday falls close to his birthday.
As chief spokesman of the movement to end racial discrimination in state and federal laws in the 1950s and 1960s, King organized several marches and peaceful protests. In 1963, he organized the famous March on Washington, which was memorialized in 2013 by President Barack Obama on its 50th anniversary. It was then that King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
A year later, on October 14, 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. Tragically, on April 4, 1968 he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee at the young age of 39.
Posthumously, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, and we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day annually to honor his courageous work towards freedom and equality. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was erected in Washington, D.C. in 2011 with a sculpture and inscription that reads, “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” The quote is from his “I Have A Dream” speech.
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