Martin Luther King Jr’s Day

Today is the third Monday of January and Americans celebrate Martin Luther King Jr’s Day. This federal holiday celebrates the birthday (15th January) of one of the most influential heroes of 20th century.

Who was Martin Luther King Jr? It is difficult to define in just a few words. Let’s say he was a clergyman and a civil rights leader. He protested racial discrimination in state and federal laws using nonviolent means, for example, civil disobedience (influenced by Mahatma Gandhi). He defended Rosa Parks and led the famous bus boycott in Montgomery (Alabama) which finished a discriminatory act dividing buses into white and black sections. One of his most famous actions was the 1963 March on Washington. Surrounded by more than 250,000 people demanding an end to racial segregation in public schools, a law prohibiting racial discrimination in employment, a minimum wage for workers, etc. King gave one of the most famous speeches in American history (and also known to a lot of people outside the USA):

Transcript of the speech is available here.

The place was also very special: the Lincoln Memorial. Do you know why it was chosen? If you think you know the answer, write it as a comment.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

He was assassinated on 4th April 1968 in Memphis (Tennessee) but his work will always be remembered by those of us who try to create a better and fairer society.


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