Today we celebrate a clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the civil rights movement - Martin Luther King Jr. But how did he become such an inspiration to many? We thought we'd go over some events that brought us to officially celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, Martin Luther King, Jr. quickly moved on with his education, graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, and eventually graduating from Boston University. From there he went right on to civil rights. He joined the bus boycott after Rosa Parks was arrested on December 5, 1955.
After becoming a pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, King was arrested again at a sit in in 1960, but was released after intervention from John Kennedy.
King's efforts then led to the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. It was here where many said he established his reputation as one of the greatest communicators of his time. Even the younger generation today can be inspired through his words.
MLK Lecture Serues Chair Peter Ellard said, "On television, on the Internet, on the computers and advertisements, he's ubiquitous in many ways that students are very much aware of his legacy and his words,"
In 1964, King had a big year. He became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize and he was also named Time magazine's "Man of the Year." While continuing to speak and fight for civil rights, King initiates a campaign to end discrimination in housing, employment, and schools in Chicago.
In 1968, he delivered his "I've been to the mountaintop" speech. But then, tragedy. At sunset on April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King was fatally shot in Memphis, Tennessee. Some who remember this day will also never forget.
Historian Jack Zazzara said, "You knew that the nation hit a low point in our history, and the aftermath of it was troubling, and it's taken years to rebuild since then."
And since then, in 1977 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a national holiday.