Living in the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we honor and respect the man who turned ripples into tidal waves and whispers into marches. As a humanitarian and African-American Civil Rights Movement leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired thousands of Americans to open up their minds to the possibility of a racially and socially free and equal America. Despite the cruel treatment MLK, Jr. and his supports sustained, his enduring message of peaceful protests and nonviolence echoed across every speech he gave and every rally he attended.

Although there were many influential and important Civil Rights Movement leaders in the United States throughout the mid 1950s such as Rosa Parks, the Freedom Riders, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, and many others, none remain as prominent in our current day rhetoric as MLK Jr. This is in large part due to his exemplary leadership abilities.

MLK, Jr. was and still remains a leader.

  • Serving as a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, MLK, Jr. learned how to speak to an audience and move them with his words. His presence was felt when he presided over his congregation, and that same power and control helped him lead a nation in years to come.
  • As the face of this Movement, MLK, Jr. had a clear and sustained plan of action based around nonviolence. His commitment to this ideology gained him the respect of thousands and served as a bright light in the construction of an unknown and unlit path.
  • He moved forward – never back – with conviction. MLK, Jr.’s path was a straight and narrow one. Although the Movement as a whole faced daily backlash, the objective was never lost. When goals are kept clear and taken seriously it gives people the motivation to keep going. MLK, Jr. never backed down.

In 1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. won The Nobel Peace Prize. The video of his acceptance speech exemplifies the three traits mentioned above. Today we give thanks to this leader who lived boldly and in solidarity with his mission of peace, equality, and love.