Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States.  Since I can't get an actual picture of him, I figured I would use a picture of his statue on Eastern Michigan's campus.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.  He was born Michael King but his dad changed his name in honor of the German protestant Martin Luther (the founder of the Lutheran Church).  He became a Baptist Minister and later a Civil Rights Activist in the United States.

One of his first acts as an activist was to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.  In 1957, he found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957.  He organized protests in Albany, Georgia.  It was his Birmingham protests where he gained national attention because of the brutal police response to his non-violent protests.  In 1963, he organized a march on Washington where he gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.  And in 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to combat racism in the United States.

He was killed in 1968 by James Earl Ray.

The statue was made by Eastern Michigan student Nancy Sippel in 1989.

Martin Luther King day is a Federal holiday marking his birthday.  It is observed on the third Monday of every year (because that falls close to his real birthday).  The campaign for this holiday began shortly after his assignation and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983.  At first there was some resistance from the states and it wasn't until 2000 that is was observed by every state.

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