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  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 5 of Dr. King’s Greatest Achievements

    MLK Day 2018

    Each January we not only honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. but we also celebrate his dreams of equality, tolerance, and a multiracial nation united in justice.

    Dr. King was a Baptist minister and social activist. During his lifetime, Dr. King fought to make many of his dreams a reality. Dr. King was a leader of the Civil Rights Movements and had many proud achievements. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, here are five of his top accomplishments:

    1. Montgomery Bus Boycott: On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to give her bus seat to a white man. Four days later, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began led by Martin Luther King Jr. During this civil-rights protest, African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery, Alabama to protest the segregated seating. The boycott lasted for over a year until finally the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional and ordered Montgomery to integrate their bus system. This protest established Dr. King as a leader in the American civil rights movement.

    2. Birmingham Campaign: Shortly after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dr. King was named the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). As the president, Dr. King lead the effort to end Birmingham, Alabama’s segregated civil and discriminatory economic policies. The campaign which pressured local businesses to desegregate through sit-ins and marches, was considered a huge success with local businesses and restaurants opening up to African American’s and Jim Crow laws ending.

    3. March on Washington/I Have a Dream: In 1963, Dr. King lead over 200,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The purpose of the march was to gain civil and economic equality for African Americans. During this march, Dr. King made one of the most famous speeches in history, “I Have a Dream.” In this speech, Dr. King described some of his hopes for the future such as, “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 the content of their character.” This march was an extremely important part to passing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and more specifically, Dr. King’s speech is considered the defining movement.

    4. Nobel Peace Prize: In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement and his non-violent approach. At the time, Dr. King was the youngest recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. With his award, Dr. King received prize money which he donated to continue to help the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.

    5. Presidential Medal of Freedom: In July of 1977, almost ten years after Dr. King's death, President Jimmy Carter awarded Martin Luther King Jr. the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is considered the nation’s highest civilian honor. Dr. King earned the award for being someone who “made our nation stronger because he made it better,” through his work as a social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. 

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