Monday, January 15, 2007

A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the National Register of Historic Places-

Born January 15, 1929, and called M.L. by his family, Martin Luther King, Jr. is memorialized as a visionary leader of the modern civil rights movement, a minister and an author. Characterized by his grand oratory and charismatic presence, King was known as a staunch advocate of nonviolent social protest. His assassination on April 4, 1968, was described by one biographer as “depriving America of a towering symbol of moral and social progress.” A few, among many, of the recognitions afforded King were: his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963, his designation as Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1964, and his posthumous receipt of the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Carter in 1977.

King gave a stellar performance on August 28, 1963, when hundreds of thousands gathered on the Mall of Washington, DC in search of freedom and equality for all. It was during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, that King delivered his stirring "I have a dream" speech asking that the same rights be afforded to ALL Americans citizens--the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The march, led by union leader A. Philip Randolph and organizer Bayard Rustin, drew more than 200,000 supporters, 50,000 of them white. They included people from all walks of life. Among their demands was the passage of the Civil Rights Bill; desegregation of schools and housing; elimination of racial discrimination in hiring; job training; an increase in minimum wage; and enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment. The institutional climax of King’s civil rights work came with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Join the National Register of Historic Places as we commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and the historic places associated with the struggle for civil rights that captured the attention of the United States and the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a better America.

May we all continue to dream of a better America for generations to come.

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