martin luther king jr day

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Martin Luther King Jr. stands in front of a bus at the end of the Montgomery bus boycott. Montgomery, Alabama December 26, 1956. (Photo Credit: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Martin Luther King Jr is arrested by two white police officers in Montgomery Alabama on September 4, 1958. (Photo Credit: Bettman/Corbis)

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. sits in a jail cell at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama. October 1967. (Photo Credit: Bettman/Corbis)

Dr. King (left) and Stokely Carmichael (right) walk together during the March Against Fear in Mississippi June, 1966. (Photo Credit: Flip Schulke/Corbis )

Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta, lead a five-day march to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery in 1965. (Photo Credit: Bettman/Corbis)

Martin Luther King leading march from Selma to Montgomery to protest lack of voting rights for African Americans. Beside King is John Lewis, Reverend Jesse Douglas, James Forman and Ralph Abernathy. March 1965. (Steve Schapiro/Corbis)

Rev. King waves to the crowd at the March on Washington, August 28,1963. (Photo Credit: Bettman/Corbis)

Coretta King was a powerful woman who, after her husbands assassination, became the leader of a worldwide movement for peace and love.

Oprah and fellow ‘Selma’ stars march in Alabama in honor of Martin Luther King Day 

Oprah Winfrey and fellow actors from the Oscar-nominated film Selma marched with hundreds in a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday, the Associated Press reports.

Winfrey walked arm in arm with Selma director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo, who played King in the movie. Their march through the streets of Selma, the site of King’s famous voting rights march in 1965, was just one of many events around the nation honoring the slain civil rights leader ahead of the federal holiday Monday.

Stupid Shit White People Say...
  • White People:#AllLivesMatter
  • White People:#BlueLivesMatter
  • White People:#KillAllMuslims
  • White People:Well, it's Nigger Day! (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • White People:That's reverse racism!
  • White People:Racism is over!
  • White People:Slavery is done! Get over it!
  • White People:Racism doesn't exist!
  • White People:Classism is the new Racism.
  • White People:Not all Whites are racists.
  • White People:I find the term 'Cracker' to be a very offensive racial slur
  • White People:When I see you, I don't see color
  • White People:Why can't white girls wear box braids, cornrows, and weaves like other black girls?
  • White People:*Does ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, then makes jokes about Ebola*
  • White People:*Riots over a sports game, then calls Black people 'Savages' for rioting in Ferguson*
  • White People:White Privilege doesn't exist!
  • White People:Where are my white privileges?!
  • White People:Black people are holding themselves back, not racism.
  • White People:It's all about the money.
  • White People:Black people can be just as oppressive as Whites!
  • White People:Black people can be racists too!
  • White People:Why can't I say 'Nigga' but Blacks can say it all the time??
  • White People:I have a friend whose Black and he/she let's me say 'Nigga' all the time!
  • White People:Were you ever a slave centuries ago? No? Then shut up!
  • White People:Stop feeding into the stereotypes if you want to be treated equally!
  • White People:I still don't understand the whole point of 'Black Lives Matter'...
  • White People:I'm not racist! I have black friends!
  • White People:Can you stop using the term 'White People'? You're making us look like bad people.
  • White People:Blacks need to stop throwing the 'Racist Card' around over everything.
  • White People:Did you vote recently? if not, then you have no right to complain over what's going on.
  • White People:I don't benefit from White Privilege!
  • White People:*Martin Luther King Jr. Quote*
  • White People:Not all cops are bad!
  • White People:The police are just doing their job!
  • White People:I have a (family relative) and he/she is a good cop.
  • White People:We can't resolve violence with violence.
  • White People:It was in self-defense! What else are you supposed to do if someone charges at you??
  • White People:Justice is served. No indictment for the officer. it's over, let's move on!
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#ReclaimMLK proves that Martin Luther King was much more than just a dream 

The #ReclaimMLK campaign, inaugurated by the founders of Black Lives Matter, aims to remind the world that the slain civil rights leader was far more than the voice behind the famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in Washington in 1963. Born out of a fear that King’s memory has become a sanitized version of the historical person, the #ReclaimMLK campaign dedicated the five days between King’s birthday (Jan. 15) and today’s federal holiday to acts of civil disobedience in his name. 

The #ReclaimMLK campaign exists to shatter the white-bred illusions that have, as Selma director Ava DuVernay put it, "reduced [King] to a catchphrase, four words: ‘I have a dream.’"

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January 15th 1929: Martin Luther King Jr. born

On this day in 1929, the future civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Born as Martin King, he and his father changed their names in honour of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. King entered the ministry in his twenties and first came to national attention for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. This event is considered by many the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, which saw a national fight against discrimination suffered by African-Americans. King was one of many leaders, but became the face of the movement for his nonviolent tactics and powerful oratory. In 1963, during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of the struggle - the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating peace, especially during the Vietnam War. On April 4th 1968, King was shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. He lived to see the legislative achievements of the movement - the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act - but tragically was unable to continue the push for full equality. The movement King set in motion continues to be fought today; the United States is still not a completely equal society and systemic discrimination persists. However thanks to Martin Luther King, America is closer to fulfilling King’s dream of a truly free and equal society. Since 1986, a national Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January.

Today would have been his 86th birthday

Watch Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech 

More than 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was honored by the Nobel Committee for his nonviolent campaign against racism in the United States. 

"I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice," began King in his acceptance speech in Stockholm, Sweden. "I accept this reward on behalf of a civil rights movement [that] is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and rule of justice."

But King’s speech was far from pure adulation, and the civil rights leader quickly sought to draw attention to the ongoing struggle of black Americans seeking dignity and respect.

There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging, the fire truck goes right through the red light…Or, when a person is bleeding to death, the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed… Disinherited people all over the world are bleeding to death from deep social and economic wounds. They need brigades of ambulance drivers who will have to ignore the red lights of the present system until the emergency is solved. Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full.
—  Dr. King
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August 28th 1963: March on Washington

On this day in 1963, 50 years ago today, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place. The march was a key moment of the Civil Rights Movement and a triumph for the nonviolence philosophy which underpinned the movement. The March is best remembered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Other speakers included chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee John Lewis and veteran civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph. When politicians in Washington heard about the march many, including President John F. Kennedy, feared that there would be violence and rioting. The peaceful gathering of over 250,000 supporters of civil rights, with many whites in attendance as well as African-Americans, spurred America into action. In 1964 Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act and in 1965 the Voting Rights Act.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’…
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.”

50 years ago today

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy
—  Martin Luther King Jr. University Press Scholarship Online has made a collection of articles free for one month to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.