Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

posted by DeWayne & Tamme -

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR:  Remembering his amazing legacy

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  was born on this date in 1929.  Here's a look back at his amazing legacy:

  • The most inspirational and influential leader of the 1960s Civil Rights movement.
  • He earned his doctorate in theology from Boston University in 1955.
  • First came to prominence as a leader of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott fueled by Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white man. It led to a federal court ruling ending segregation on public buses.
  • An organizer of 1963's March on Washington which demanded an end to segregation; there, he delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • The oft-repeated speech ran for 17 minutes.
  • He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
  • In 1965, he organized a series of marches from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, demanding voting rights for African-Americans.
  • The "Bloody Sunday" attack by police on protesters was the tipping point for President Johnson to submit a comprehensive Civil Rights Bill.
  • King also served as a leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement.
  • Came to Memphis in April 1968 to support striking sanitation workers; on April 4th, he was shot dead on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel by James Earl Ray.
  • He and his namesake father were both born Michael King, but changed their names in 1934 to honor the Protestant reform leader.
  • President Reagan signed the bill creating a national Martin Luther King holiday in 1983.
  • The holiday was first celebrated in all 50 states in 2000.

It's been nearly 55 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Junior gave the historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Delivered at the base of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963 during a March on Washington, the speech is considered one of the defining moments of the Civil Rights movement and one of the most famous speeches in history. 

Here are some little-known facts about the speech:

  • The speech is known as “I Have a Dream,” but those words were never in the original draft -- they were ad-libbed.
  • It lasts 17 minutes and is widely considered to have been drafted in New York and then in Washington in the hours before the rally.     
  • As a result of the speech, Dr. King was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, and won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.
  • It was ranked the top speech of the 20th century by a poll of academics.      
  • It is said to have had several names and drafts, including “The Normalcy Speech” and “A Cancelled Check.”

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