“I Have a Dream” still inspiring

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

These words were spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his “I Have a Dream” speech in August, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Dr. King Jr. was a Baptist minister, turned social activist and civil rights leader who called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism. In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35 for his work for civil rights and social justice. When first selected, he said the $54,123 prize would be given to further continue the civil rights movement.

“All that I have said boils down to the point of affirming that mankind’s survival is dependent upon man’s ability to solve the problems of racial injustice, poverty and war: the solution of these problems is in turn dependent upon man squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress, and learning the practical art of living in harmony,” King said as part of his acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway.

Dr. King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39. He was to have led a protest march the next day in sympathy with garbage workers on strike.

Twenty three years later in January 1986, this nation commenced the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who strove for freedom, justice and equality amongst all the people of this nation.

In August 2011, a monument inspired by his “I Have a Dream” speech was unveiled in West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C. Dr. King Jr. was the first African American to be honored at the National Mall.

King had a pivotal role in ending legal segregation of African-American citizens and prompting the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to remember and commemorate a man who inspired this country to be a better nation.

We continue this struggle to be better people every day. Some of us are still inspired by Dr. King’s message, his speeches, books and dreams; that one day, no matter the color of your skin, the fight for justice and equality will succeed.

front view of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 30 foot sculpture located at the National Mall in Washington D.C.

The 30-foot memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a social activist, civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, stands tall in the sunlight, June 6, 2013, at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The sculpture was designed as a lasting tribute to Dr. King Jr.’s legacy and as a monument to freedom, opportunity and justice for which he stood. (U.S. Air Force photo by L. Cunningham)

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