Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK Jr. Day is a national holiday honoring the work of the late pastor and human rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. King believed in a fair country, undivided by race and class, where each child had as much opportunity as the next. As a nation, much of our great civic progress can be attributed to King and his unwavering conviction and his willingness to fight for the rights of all people.
In his famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” King states that though African American citizens had been freed from slavery years before, they still were not free. Great prejudice was abundant in the days King lived. Schools were segregated, African American adults and children were discriminated against, and poverty ran rampant in black communities.
King felt the words of the Constitution were ignored in regard to people of color, stating, “This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'”
King spoke at churches and rallies for over a decade, moving for citizens to abandon the racism that had impregnated society. He organized marches and campaigned for African American citizens to be given equal treatment. King sought to empower those affected by discrimination and transform our nation into a nation where each citizen was valued for what they brought to the table, rather than the color of their skin.
Martin Luther King fought this battle for many years, rallying citizens all over the country. Though he was tragically assassinated April 4, 1968, his vision lives on. Ronald Reagan signed the bill declaring the third Monday of each January Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1986. For 34 years, Americans have taken this day to remember King, his empowering words, and his work for our country.
The annual MLK March will begin Monday at 10 a.m. at Cottrell Chapel CME.