January 15, 2013
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BORN 84 YEARS AGO TODAY
Atlanta, Georgia (JFK+50) 84 years ago today, January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born at 501 Auburn Street here in Atlanta.
His father, Michael, changed his name to honor the German protestant religious leader, Martin Luther.
MLK, Jr.’s mother was Alberta Williams King.
The younger King graduated from Morehouse College in 1948 with a B.A. in Sociology. He earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania 3 years later.
King married Coretta Scott on June 18, 1953 & received his PhD from Boston University in 1955, the same year he led the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.
Dr. King was pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery before becoming co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
MLK became the leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s & 60s.
His philosophy of non-violent protest in the movement was patterned after that of Mohandas Gandhi.
During the March on Washington for equal rights in August 1963, Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech which is considered to be his best.
Afterward, King & other civil rights leaders met with President Kennedy at the White House. JFK greeted them with the words: “I have a dream.”
In 1964, MLK was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize & in the following years, while continuing to lead the civil rights movement, became an opponent of the war in Vietnam.
Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, which is now the National Civil Rights Museum.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday was established in 1983. It is celebrated, as it will be next week, on the 3rd Monday of January.
The bill for the holiday was signed by President Reagan on November 2, 1983 & the holiday was 1st observed in 1986.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial overlooking the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. was dedicated on October 16, 2011.
The memorial, by Lei Yixin of the People’s Republic of China, is composed of 159 granite blocks & was built at a cost of $120 million.
At the dedication ceremonies, President Barack Obama, the 1st African American President of the United States, said:
“In this place (Dr. King) will stand for all time, a black preacher with no official rank or title who gave voice to our deepest dreams & our most lasting ideals.”
Today’s posting on the anniversary of the birth of MLK is a compilation of several different postings we have done on Dr. King over the past few years.
This year, 2013, is important historically for reasons that interconnect.
It is the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington & the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy who gave the 1st presidential address completely devoted to the civil rights issue.
So, we are reminded today of the song written by Dick Holler & 1st recorded by Dion in 1968, “Abraham, Martin & John.”
The song pays tribute to 4 assassinated American leaders who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom & equality: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., & John & Robert (Bobby) Kennedy.
Has anybody here
seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me
where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people
But it seems
the good they die young.
I just looked ’round
& he’s gone.