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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 20, 2020

<b>Martin Luther King Jr.</b> (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American <a class=’mw-redirect’ title=’Baptist’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist’>Baptist</a> minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the <a title=’Civil rights movement’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_rights_movement’>civil rights movement</a> from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Born in <a title=’Atlanta’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta’>Atlanta</a>, King is best known for advancing <a title=’Civil and political rights’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_and_political_rights’>civil rights</a> through <a title=’Nonviolence’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolence’>nonviolence</a> and <a title=’Civil disobedience’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_disobedience’>civil disobedience</a>, tactics his <a title=’Christianity’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity’>Christian</a> beliefs and the nonviolent activism of <a title=’Mahatma Gandhi’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi’>Mahatma Gandhi</a> helped inspire.
King led the 1955 <a title=’Montgomery bus boycott’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery_bus_boycott’>Montgomery bus boycott</a> and in 1957 became the first president of the <a title=’Southern Christian Leadership Conference’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Christian_Leadership_Conference’>Southern Christian Leadership Conference</a> (SCLC). With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful <a title=’Albany Movement’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany_Movement’>1962 struggle against segregation</a> in <a title=’Albany, Georgia’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany,_Georgia’>Albany, Georgia</a>, and helped organize the nonviolent 1963 protests in <a title=’Birmingham, Alabama’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham,_Alabama’>Birmingham, Alabama</a>. He helped organize the 1963 <a class=’mw-redirect’ title=’March on Washington’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_on_Washington’>March on Washington</a>, where he delivered his famous ‘<a title=’I Have a Dream’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_a_Dream’>I Have a Dream</a>’ speech.

On October 14, 1964, King won the <a title=’Nobel Peace Prize’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Peace_Prize’>Nobel Peace Prize</a> for combating <a title=’Racism in the United States’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_the_United_States’>racial inequality</a> through <a title=’Nonviolent resistance’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_resistance’>nonviolent resistance</a>. In 1965, he helped organize the <a title=’Selma to Montgomery marches’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches’>Selma to Montgomery marches</a>. The following year, he and the SCLC took the movement north to <a title=’Chicago’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago’>Chicago</a> to work on segregated housing. In his final years, he expanded his focus to include opposition towards <a title=’Poverty in the United States’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States’>poverty</a> and the <a title=’Vietnam War’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War’>Vietnam War</a>. He alienated many of his <a title=’Modern liberalism in the United States’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_liberalism_in_the_United_States’>liberal</a> allies with a 1967 speech titled ‘<a title=’Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Vietnam:_A_Time_to_Break_Silence’>Beyond Vietnam</a>’. <a title=’J. Edgar Hoover’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Edgar_Hoover’>J. Edgar Hoover</a> considered him a radical and made him an object of the FBI’s <a title=’COINTELPRO’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO’>COINTELPRO</a> from 1963 on. FBI agents investigated him for possible communist ties, recorded his extramarital liaisons and reported on them to government officials, and on one occasion mailed King <a title=’FBI–King suicide letter’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI%E2%80%93King_suicide_letter’>a threatening anonymous letter</a>, which he interpreted as an attempt to make him commit suicide.

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the <a title=’Poor People’s Campaign’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_People%27s_Campaign’>Poor People’s Campaign</a>, when he was <a title=’Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Martin_Luther_King_Jr.’>assassinated</a> on April 4 in <a title=’Memphis, Tennessee’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis,_Tennessee’>Memphis, Tennessee</a>. His death was followed by <a title=’King assassination riots’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_assassination_riots’>riots in many U.S. cities</a>. <a title=’Martin Luther King Jr. assassination conspiracy theories’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr._assassination_conspiracy_theories’>Allegations</a> that <a title=’James Earl Ray’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Earl_Ray’>James Earl Ray</a>, the man convicted of killing King, had been framed or acted in concert with government agents persisted for decades after the shooting. Sentenced to 99 years in prison for King’s murder, effectively a life sentence as Ray was 41 at the time of conviction, Ray served 29 years of his sentence and died from <a title=’Hepatitis’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatitis’>hepatitis</a> in 1998 while in prison.

King was posthumously awarded the <a title=’Presidential Medal of Freedom’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Medal_of_Freedom’>Presidential Medal of Freedom</a> and the <a title=’Congressional Gold Medal’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Gold_Medal’>Congressional Gold Medal</a>. <a title=’Martin Luther King Jr. Day’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr._Day’>Martin Luther King Jr. Day</a> was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971; the holiday was enacted at the federal level by legislation signed by President <a title=’Ronald Reagan’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan’>Ronald Reagan</a> in 1986. <a title=’List of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr.’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_streets_named_after_Martin_Luther_King_Jr.’>Hundreds of streets</a> in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a <a title=’King County, Washington’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_County,_Washington’>county</a> in Washington State was rededicated for him. The <a title=’Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr._Memorial’>Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial</a> on the <a title=’National Mall’ href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Mall’>National Mall</a> in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.

<a href=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr.’ target=’_blank’ rel=’noopener noreferrer’>wikipedia</a>


January 20, 2020
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