Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Every year we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the third Monday in January, but why?

Some people think of this day as just a day off from work or school, but we at the University Echo believe it is more than that.

Photo by Eve Hermann
Photo by Eve Hermann

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to not only celebrate the birthday of a man who fought  so hard for racial equality, but to also remember a time when the racial divide in America was very deep.

In 1957 King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization devoted to providing leadership for the civil rights movement.

From 1957-1968 King spoke over 2,500 times and traveled over six-million miles to support equality.

But he is probably most remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered to around 250,000 people in Washington D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963.

In 1964 King was the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at 35 years old. He turned his prize money of $54,123 over to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On April 4, 1968 he was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The day before his assassination he told his supporters, “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.”

King’s life was a testament to equality. He did everything he could to fight for what he believed, something many of us say we want to do, but never follow through with.

Take a moment this week to look up information about King’s life, Google his speeches and think about how his words are still relevant to today.

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