Each year, since 1986, on the third Monday in January, we honor the only non-president to have a national holiday in his name in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in conjunction to a day which usually falls close to his birthday of January 15. In fact, MLK is also the only non-president to have a memorial in the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as well.
Dr. King was born in 1929 and, before being assassinated on April 4, 1968, was the most-important advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. His efforts and speeches still ring true today, as his profound speeches and accomplishments paved the way for future generations.
This day is also associated with giving back to your community, as part of MLK Day of Service. You can get involved today by merely volunteering, whether donating your time to animals, advocacy, youth sports, education, homelessness or environmental cleanups, among many others. That is how you honor what Dr. King did for so many people, by giving some of yourself to others as he devoted all of himself.
Some of Our Favorite Facts About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- King was so educationally advanced that he skipped both ninth and 11th grades prior to entering Morehouse College at just 15-years-old in 1944. At 19, he earned his bachelor’s in sociology, including a doctorate in theology. He also received 20 honorary degrees from various universities and colleges across the country.
- He is the first African American to be named Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’, which he achieved in 1963. His article was seven pages, and the issue included his photo on the cover.
- King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which gave him both a regional and national platform to speak. His travels included having spoken to 2,500-different crowds, across 6 million miles covered. His motivation behind the initiatives was just how potent of a weapon nonviolent resistance was in the fight for freedom and equality.
- In 1964, Dr. King was the then-youngest person, at just 35-years-old, to have ever received the Nobel Peace Prize, which he was awarded for his countless efforts to combat inequality with nonviolence. He was also awarded a $54,123 check, which he donated, in entirety, to his own SCLC, as well as Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), National Council of Negro Women, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
- There is nearly one street in every major city, across the United States, named after MLK. In fact, as of today, there are 900 such streets. The number continues to rise, each year, as well.
Dr. King’s efforts also extended to the healthcare industry. Most notably, almost 55 years ago, when he brought-to-light the then imbalance in the industry when he stated, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most-shocking and inhuman.”, which further put emphasis on the lack of education and restrictive job opportunities for most. It was not merely restrictive to the lack of African American healthcare professionals, but also to the inferior medical care in segregated hospitals offered to patients as well. Thanks to his efforts, there is plenty of diversity and incredibly skilled people in the healthcare system today, on both sides of the counter.
For more information as to how you can help make a peaceful difference in the ongoing battle against racism and inequality, visit The King Center.
For ways you can help contribute to MLK Day of Service and give back to your community, click HERE.
Some of Our Favorite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes
- “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.”
- “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
- “People fail to get along because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
- “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”
- “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
- “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
- “Everybody can be great, because anyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”
- “Man must evolve, for all human conflict, a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method, is love.”
- “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is most important.”
- “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
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