Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968), was one of the main leaders of the American civil rights movement. King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955 - 1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Here he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Martin Luther King Day was established as a national holiday in the United States in 1986. In 2004, King was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.

"But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."

Complete video of "I have a dream" speech.

Reavel: A Personal Note here about this subject...

I have to say that I enjoy listening to that speech. Since I wasn't there at that time I can only imagine what people went thru to feel all those words and express them like he did. The suffering and the sentiment that every word carries. The power they get when you combine them with the actual situation. Making people feel strong in order to make a change not only for them but for us today. We have to be thankful of people like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and all the rest that stood on their feet and fought for them and for us. Thanks to those words and all the works before and after we had and can take advantage of many things. Even when the dream have become a reality somehow there is still a long way to walk on and make it completely true. Not only for the black people but for all people. This is civil rights movement it gathers all humans and races. We are humans and we all have the right to fight for our rights. So let us never forget this people and celebrate them cause we own them what we have and they deserve that respect. Lets not ruin his dream, lets make it true and last for more generations. We need more dreamers.