Each year on the third Monday of January, we as a nation reflect on the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King was the middle child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Dr. King became a Baptist minister and would use this platform to advance the cause of bettering the lives of African Americans.
Dr. King’s leadership in the American Civil Rights Movement began with the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 after Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks refused to give up their seats to white bus riders. The boycott lasted over a year and ended after a District Court ruling outlawed racial segregation on public buses. In 1957, he and others founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which focused on using nonviolent protests to end the practice of racial inequality and segregation across the southern states.
1963 was a pivotal year in the Civil Rights Movement as Dr. King led the SCLC, and other civil rights groups in a nonviolent movement targeting Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham was often referred to as “Bombingham” because of the number of explosions that occurred targeting black homes, churches and establishments. It was during this leg of the movement that Dr. King was jailed and penned, what would become his philosophy and approach to nonviolent protest, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
Over the subsequent years, Dr. King worked tirelessly for the cause and his work would lead to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting rights act of 1965. Both are important pieces of legislation in the fight for equality. Dr. King’s life was abruptly cut short when he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an enduring figure in United States history and his legacy lives on to this day. As we prepare to remember that legacy, we would like to share this famous passage from his “I Have a Dream” speech given in Washington, D.C. in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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 one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, . . . one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. . . With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. . . .”
At HHHunt, we believe it’s how you live that matters, and it is important to reflect on the leaders who came before us and the significant impact they made in improving the lives of others. However you choose to recognize this day, we want to wish you a safe and happy day.