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Archive for the category “Martin Luther King”


January 16, 2012


Today is a national holiday in the United States in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 15 (observed on the 3rd Monday each January).

                   MLK, Jr. Memorial
                    Washington, D.C.
        Photo by John White (2011)

Dr. King was the leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s & 1960s.

According to Dr. King’s son, Dexter, his father was inspired by God & acquired his technique from Gandhi.

6 million signatures were acquired on the petition to create the MLK holiday, the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. history according to The Nation.

The bill itself was introduced by Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) & Senator Ed Brooke (R-Massachusetts).

It passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 338-90 & the Senate by a vote of 78-22.

President Ronald Reagan signed the bill creating the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on November 2, 1983.  The holiday was 1st observed on January 20, 1986.

            President Ronald Reagan
 Signs Act Creating Dr. King Holiday
          Coretta Scott King (far left)
      Howard H. Baker, Jr. (far right)*
                     November 2, 1983
                   White House Photo

*Former Tennessee Senator who served as President Reagan’s Chief of Staff

MLK Jr. Day is observed in Hiroshima, Japan where Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba holds a banquet to unify the city’s call for peace with Dr. King’s message of equal rights.

Toronto, Canada also observes MLK Jr. Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born just after noon on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

King was born in an upstairs bedroom at 501 Auburn Avenue.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthplace
                501 Auburn Avenue
                   Atlanta, Georgia
         Photo by John White (2008)

King’s maternal grandfather, A.D. Williams,  had been pastor of nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church since 1914.

“It was in the surroundings of home, church & neighborhood that King experienced family, Christian love, segregation, diligence & tolerance.”

King was actually named after his father, Rev. Michael King at birth but his father later changed his name to Martin Luther King, Sr. in honor of the German protestant religious leader, Martin Luther. So Michael King, Jr. changed his as well.

MLK, Jr. had 2 siblings, older sister Willie Christine & younger brother Alfred Daniel Williams King.

      Beck Cultural Center Display
              Knoxville, Tennessee

As a 15 year old student at Morehouse College, King was described as unmotivated, questioning of religion in general & uncomfortable with overly emotional displays of religious worship. 

In his senior year, however, King was a serious student who had decided to follow his father’s footsteps & enter the ministry.*

*Source: http://www.biography.com

“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.”

President Barack Obama

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

The Rev. Martin Luther King
American civil rights leader**

**Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, Editorial Page, Jan. 16, 2012


October 16, 2011


                    MLK, Jr. Memorial
                     Washington, D.C.
         Photo by John White (2011)

Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Barack Obama, the 1st African-American President of the United States, joined Vice-President Joseph Biden, Secretary of Interior Kenneth Salazar, members of the King family, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder & others to dedicate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial today here in the Nation’s Capital.

                 MLK, Jr. Memorial
                  Washington, D.C.
       Photo by John White (2011)

President Obama said:

“In this place he will stand for all time among monuments of those who fathered this nation & those who defended it.  A black preacher with no official rank or title who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams & our most lasting ideals.”

The memorial, which covers 4 acres,  is located on the National Mall at 1964 Independence Ave.,SW.

A 30 foot statue of Dr. King, which faces toward the Tidal Basin, was made from 159 granite blocks.

The sculptor is Lei Yixin of the People’s Republic of China.

                         MLK, Jr. Memorial
                          Washington, D.C.
               Photo by John White (2011)

On the sides of the King statue are these inscriptions:

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”

“I was a drum major for peace, justice & righteousness.” 

14 quotations from Dr. King’s sermons & speeches are inscribed on a crescent shaped granite wall located behind & on either side of the statue.

                 MLK, Jr. Memorial
                   Washington, D.C.
       Photo by John White (2011)

One of the quotations is from Dr. King’s speech in Los Angeles, California on December 24, 1967.

“I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America.  I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety & sorrow in my heart, & above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world.”

The MLK Memorial was built at a cost of $120 million.*

*The dedication was originally planned for the anniversary date of King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, August 28, but Hurricane Irene forced the event to be rescheduled for today.  We visited the memorial during our recent trip to Washington on September 25, 2011.

                     Photo by John White
                         September 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Library of Congress Photo (1964)

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

          Jennifer at the King Birthplace
                         Atlanta, Georgia
              Photo by John White (2008)

King became a Baptist minister & leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s & 1960s.  

In 1954, King, at the age of 25, became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama & the following year received a PhD. from Boston University.

That same year he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott to a successful conclusion.

In 1960, Dr. King joined his father, Martin Luther King, Sr. as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

                Ebenezer Baptist Church
                       Atlanta, Georgia
             Photo by John White (2008)

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most famous “I have a dream” speech at the March on Washington.  

King said:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up & live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.'”

After the speech, Dr. 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, Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize & in 1968 was concentrating his efforts on a “Poor People’s Campaign” & opposition to the Vietnam War.

On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee giving support to a sanitation workers’ strike when he was shot & killed while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

                           John White 
        National Civil Rights Museum
            Site of the Lorraine Motel
               Memphis, Tennessee
         Photo by Chad Smith (2008)

Dr. King is buried along with his wife Coretta Scott King in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Kings had 4 children.

           Martin & Coretta Scott King
                      Atlanta, Georgia
           Photo by John White (2008)


January 15, 1962
In his press conference today, President Kennedy is asked if US troops are fighting in Vietnam.  He says “no”.  The answer is “technically” accurate since no American combat troops have yet been sent to Southeast Asia.  
US military advisers (soldiers & airmen) are, however, serving alongside the South Vietnamese army & air force.
January 15, 1929
Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia.  The son of a Baptist minister, King will be influenced by Mohandas Gandhi & will become the leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s & 1960s.
 My daughter, Jennifer, visits Dr. King’s birthplace in Atlanta
King, like Gandhi,  will advocate “non-violent resistance”.  He will give his greatest sermon at the 1963 March On Washington when he will say:  “I have a dream.”

President Kennedy welcomes Dr. King & other leaders of the movement to the Oval Office with the words “I have a dream.”

January 15, 1870
With the publication of today’s Harper’s Weekly, Thomas Nast’s political cartoon entitled “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” represents the 1st  recorded use of a donkey to represent the Democratic Party.
January 15, 1559
Elizabeth Tudor, 25 year old daughter of King Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn, is crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey in London.  
Queen Elizabeth I, called the “Virgin Queen” because she chooses not to marry, encourages voyages of discovery such as Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world & Sir Walter Raleigh’s expeditions to North America.

In her final address to Parliament before her death in 1603, she says:

“I count the glory of my crown that I have reigned with your love.”


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