In August of 1963, in front of thousands of supporters at the March on Washington, the great Dr. Martin Luther King proclaimed:
"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."
Would Dr. King be proud of the nation we live in today? Would Dr. King settle for the way things are now in 2008? Would things have been different had Dr. King not left us too soon?
What can be written about Dr. King that hasn't been written before? His courage, his bravery, his fight, his passion, and his conviction will continue to inspire expression.
King is respected all over this great diverse nation, but probably non-more than in the city of Atlanta. A city rich in black history and civil rights tradition. The birthplace of Martin Luther King. The city where the great, and equally "brave" Hank Aaron overcame adversity and death threats, to proudly finish his illustrious career. The city where on Stone Mountain, outside of Atlanta's city limits, the second founding of the KKK occurred in 1915. The city that was burned to the ground for spite during the Civil War. Yet still, it is the city where every year on the 3rd Monday in January, the world stops to honor the great Martin Luther King.
King is honored with an all day church service televised for all to see.
When I taught Social Studies in Atlanta, to a group of predominantly African-American students, I couldn't help but get emotional when speaking about King's bravery. The students know of his legacy. They respect his legacy. And most importantly they will carry that legacy on to their children, so that one day they can "live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
Martin Luther King Jr. -- January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
King's Legacy can not be limited to mere facts, but here are a few which you may not have known.
At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.
In 1964, King became the first black American to be honored as Time magazine's Man of the Year.
King's efforts were not limited to securing civil rights; he also spoke out against poverty and the Vietnam War.