Happy Birthday Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was a pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King’s focus was on nonviolence heavily based on Christian beliefs which would lead his orchestration of boycotts and other peaceful methods to demonstrate injustice and appeal for peace.

Born Michael King, his father changed his name in honor of German reformer Martin Luther.

Martin Luther King was seen by some as a radical and a troublemaker, says the Washington Post.  Vincent Harding, one of King’s colleagues, once said, “A dangerous Negro, now a national hero. How shall we work with that?” In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. was called the most dangerous Negro in the United States because he posed a threat to the very precious ideals. The truth is that he had considerable faith in America. He believed that when people saw the unfairness of the caste system that had grown up in their country — in a nation founded on the principles of equality before the law, the opportunity to advance in life according to one’s merits, the right to choose the people who govern us — they would understand how truly un-American it was and it would all come to an end, and much of it has.

In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam“.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached nonviolence, practiced it and led a great movement guided by its principles. We are reminded of his legacy today and pay homage to one of the greatest American heroes of all time. 

Click here for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have A Dream" speech.