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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Kim Hill, Economic Security Client Services

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is widely regarded as one of the most famous leaders in the modern Civil Rights Movement. He was not only an intelligent and inspirational speaker, but also an advocate for economic, social, and racial equality. His non-violent resistance and protest practices were born from his Christian upbringing and Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings on peace.

During the course of his short life, he had several profoundly and historically substantial accomplishments:

  • In 1955, he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott campaign, resulting in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that current laws (at that time) on racial segregation in transportation were unconstitutional.
  • Working alongside several civil rights groups, he led a massive non-violent protest in Birmingham, Alabama, described at the time as “the most segregated city in America”. This gained national attention and a call for civil rights legislation.
  • Dr. King directed the peaceful March on Washington in 1963, which drew more than 250,000 people. This is where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” address.

The results of Dr. King’s leadership were instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which made racial discrimination illegal; and the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting. He also led several campaigns focusing on economic justice and international peace.

In my opinion, Dr. King’s most admirable quality was his ability to teach effectively. He educated and inspired others through his words and peaceful actions, thus creating a national movement that led to sweeping social change. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated on Monday, January 15, 2018. Here are a few ways that you can celebrate this national holiday beyond January 15, 2018:

  1. Advocate for someone in need. Be the voice they may not have the strength or capacity to use.
  2. Support a non-profit organization that assists others in need, by offering them your time or financial support.
  3. Teach! Share your wisdom with the next generation. Encourage them to not sit idly when they witness injustice. As Dr. King wrote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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