The US will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr on the third Monday in January.
The US commemorates the birthday of American civil rights leader Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr and celebrates his life on January 18.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr[/caption]
Who was Martin Luther King Jr?
Born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most influential speaker and leader during the civil rights movement.
King was known for advancing civil rights through nonviolent protests and civil disobedience, which was rooted through his Christian beliefs.
He participated in and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights, and other basic human civil rights.
Martin Luther King Jr at the March on Washington where he delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech[/caption]
King delivered his I Have a Dream speech in front of over 250,000 supporters[/caption]
In 1957, King became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
As president of the SCLC, King led the unsuccessful Albany Movement, in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama.
In 1963, King helped organize the March on Washington, where he delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
In October 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.
On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He died at the age of 39.
What was his famous I Have A Dream speech about?
On August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech.
King called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States.
He delivered his remarks in front of over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
At the beginning of his speech, King made a reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared millions of African American slaves free in 1863.
King was known for advancing civil rights through nonviolent protests and civil disobedience[/caption]
MLK Day became a federal holiday in 1983[/caption]
He said, “One hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.”
Towards the end of his speech, King described his dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred, translating into the theme “I have a dream.”
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” King said in 1963.
Who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr?
James Earl Ray was convicted of assassinating King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1969, Ray was convicted after entering a guilty plea, thus forgoing a jury trial and the possibility of a death sentence.
He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
He served 29 years of his sentence until he died on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70.
Dr King was assassinated on April 4, 1968[/caption]
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When did MLK Day become a federal holiday?
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law, and it was first recognized three years later.
It was observed in all 50 states as a federal holiday in 2000.