After 15 years of repugnance, MLK day became a national holiday usually observed the third Monday in January in remembrance of Kings many accomplishments. Martin’s work is revered as one of the most prolific platforms in the Civil rights era.
Martin, born Michael who later changed his first name, exhibited early signs of the man honored and now remembered. He skipped 9th and 12th grade, entering Morehouse College at the age of 15. He received his B.A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, and then studied Theology at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class.
After he was awarded a B.D. in 1951, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. During his activism, MLK, Jr. traveled more than six million miles and gave more than 2,500 speeches appearing where he felt his presence was needed and voice could resonate. He was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age 35. He was awarded five honorary degrees and named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963.
“It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit,” King said in his unpopular opposition of the Vietnam war speech.
While his many speeches could literally produce thousands of quotes, his most celebrated 17 minute speech given on August 28, 1963, “I Have A Dream” is one of the most revered speeches of all times.
Some of his notable “I Have A Dream” quotes which are still profound include:
“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,” King told the more than 200,000 civil rights supporters gathered in Washington.”
“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.”
“Now, I say to you today my friends, 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.”
And “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood,” were both taken from King’s letter from Birmingham Jail.
In King’s famous ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’, written to eight members of the white clergy in Birmingham, Ala., he addressed the accusation of extremism and his disappointment with the white moderates. The letter was never sent.
Dr. Martin Luther King, we salute you and this day and always by remembering your great words as memorable quotes.!