By Brianna Naderpour, Emily Dupas, Bradley Cusnier and Rene Padilla
FEB 10, 2016
Many students are ecstatic when they check the school calendar and see that there is a long weekend. They can always count on having the third Monday of January off, for Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day. Time off is great, but it is important to never lose sight of why MLK Day is so significant. Recognizing the impact that Martin Luther King Jr. had, it’s easy to appreciate why a holiday is dedicated to his memory.
During the mid 1950s and into the 1960s, racial discrimination between whites and blacks was a major issue. Martin Luther King Jr. was a prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement. His speeches inspired people to change the injustices that they suffered. He believed that the movement to gain equality would be better accomplished using peaceful methods, rather than violence.
According to biography.com, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929. He was the middle child in his family, and his parents were Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Martin Luther King Jr. attended Boston University, Morehouse College, and Crozer Theological Seminary. He met Coretta Scott, his wife with whom he had four children, while he was working on his Ph.D.
Mr. King’s crusade began with his involvement in the Montgomery Bus Boycott to support Rosa Parks, a black woman who became famous when she refused to give up her seat to a white man. Among his many accomplishments, Martin Luther King Jr. was an influential public speaker, famous for his moving speech, “I Have a Dream.” In part this speech reads, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed… I have a dream that the sons of former slaves and slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood… I have a dream that one day, even the state of Mississippi will be transformed into an oasis of freedom… I have a dream today!” Sadly, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968.
In his “I Have a Dream” speech, King Jr. details his wish for every human being to live in harmony, regardless of skin color. While humanity continues to strive towards that goal, MLK Day is a great reminder to everyone to be able to strive to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s message a reality.