Monday, January 18, 2016

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil Rights activist and minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was integral to the Civil Rights Movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. His work led to the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a document that put an end to legalized segregation and banned workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Dr. King’s activism was led by the nonviolent philosophies of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leading voice inIndia’s independence movement which began in 1857 and ended in 1947. Both leaders taught that a strong body of individuals brought together in solidarity can create long-lasting change for the betterment of everyone.

Gandhi led nonviolent protests which included week-long fasts and marches to protest everything from British occupation to caste separation. Similarly, Dr. King led boycotts, committees and campaigns to end social injustices, marches and other peaceful demonstrations and protests.

Though members of Congress proposed a legislated holiday for the fallen leader directly after Dr. King’s assassination, it wasn’t until 15 years after his death that the day became a national holiday. Many advocates were on board, including Stevie Wonder who wrote a song honoring Dr. King called “Happy Birthday.” According to Time Magazine, the song was meant to “make a case for the holiday,” and point out anyone who was opposed to the idea.

Finally, in 1983, despite then-president Ronald Reagan’s reluctance to pass the bill, he conceded. Dr. King’s birthday became a national holiday. This was an honor that up until that time had only been given to George Washington, the first president of the United States.
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
To learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy and words, check out Martin Luther King Jr. OnlineThe King CenterThe King Institute, or any number of archival websites compiling Dr. King’s work.

*originally published at the now defunct

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