Celebrating an American Treasure by Kari Denison

“Free at last!  Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”  proclaimed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his historical “I Have a Dream” Address delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.

Martin Luther King was a Baptist Reverend, activist and spokesperson for the Civil Rights Movement.  The Civil Rights Movement strived for greater equality of all persons regardless of race and economic status.  King had many achievements during his lifetime. A highly notable honor occurred in 1964 when King received the Nobel Peace Prize for exemplary nonviolent resistance to combat racial inequality in which he was involved.

Our nation will honor and celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18.  The day celebrates King, who was born January 15, 1929.  MLK Day was signed into legislation as a federal holiday in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. 

King had a dream and devoted his life to it. The Civil Rights Movement strived for labor rights, the right to vote and desegregation through nonviolent social change.  Key word: nonviolent.

“Martin Luther King wanted people to be able to go places together, share food together, and love one another in peace.  Because he worked so hard for freedom and helped so many people gain it, we honor him every year on his special day.  We call this day Martin Luther King Day, and we say to him, “Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King.”

“Happy Birthday” – Stevie Wonder
I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition
Because it should never be
Just because some cannot see
The dream as clear as he
That they should make it become an illusion
And we all know everything
That he stood for time will bring
For in peace our hearts will sing
Thanks to Martin Luther King

The Library offers a number of fine resources on Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.  Below is a sampling of titles found in the non-fiction collection: 

Parting the Waters, America in the King Years, 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch; Pillar of Fire, American in the King Years, 1963-1965 by Taylor Branch; Martin Luther King by Nancy Shuker; Martin Luther King, Jr. by Jacqueline Harris; Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport; Happy Birthday Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo.

Available through interlibrary loan The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Inquire at the front desk.

Celebrate peace, happiness and nonviolent social change.

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 6, 1968)
Photo credit Unseen Histories
The Stone of Hope at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.
Photo credit Clay Banks
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