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By Jennifer Wood

Continued from Home Page.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 16th, which commemorates the birth of American Civil Rights Leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. born on January 15th, 1929. The day was set aside to promote equal rights for ALL Americans, regardless of their backgrounds and to remember Dr. King’s important work and ultimate sacrifice as he fought for legal equality for African-Americans in the United States.
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist Minister and Social Activist that became active in the Civil Rights Movement (1950s-1960s). The Movement pushed to end racial segregation and raise awareness to the existence of racism in United States. The goal of the Movement was to eliminate the existence of racism (institutional or individual), while helping the economically disadvantaged. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for victims of injustice through the power of words and nonviolent, peaceful resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing and civil disobedience. His most famous speech, “I Have A Dream,” given on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1963 was attended by nearly 250,000 people.
“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.” Martin Luther King Jr. I Have A Dream, 1963.
Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on April 4th, 1968 while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee…he was 39 years old. Although the bullet may have silenced the voice of a great Civil Rights leader, husband, and father it didn’t dull the echo of his words as they have reverberated throughout history.
Martin Luther King Jr. led by example, as he put his life at risk for freedom and justice, enduring threats, jail and beatings. Through it all he kept on marching, protesting, organizing and speaking about the value of equality, tolerance, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility, service and forgiveness. In the end, he paid the ultimate price, which is a reminder that freedom isn’t always free, but worth fighting for.
“This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: Let freedom ring! And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Martin Luther King Jr. I Have A Dream, 1963.