On Monday, January 20, 2014 the country joined together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So why do we honor Dr. King? In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that blacks and whites could go to the same schools, saying that “separate but equal” schools were inherently unequal. However, many people still did not want to change.
In Montgomery, Alabama, a young lady refused to give up her seat to a white man while riding a bus. In Montgomery, Alabama, black leaders knew they were going to need a person to be the voice of reason if they were going to prevail against centuries of injustice. They knew that it would take a strong leader, a person who believed in peace and justice, to win more freedom for black Americans. Martin Luther King, Jr. was that man.
Between 1955 and 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. helped change America. He brought to the world’s attention how unfairly blacks were treated. He had the help of millions of Americans, but his strong leadership and unprecedented power of speech gave people the faith and courage to keep working peacefully even when others did not. This led to new laws that ended the practice of keeping people of different backgrounds apart, making life fairer for everyone.
America will always remember the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year, on the third Monday in January, we celebrate his birthday. This is the first national holiday to honor an individual black American. The legacy of Dr. King lives in each of us and we are responsible to promote, teach, and live the American Dream.