The weekend in various parts of the nation will go on to celebrate the birthday of one of the prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. January 15th marks the 93rd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had he been alive today.
This weekend marks the 93rd birthday celebration that focuses on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a legacy that encompasses decisions, actions, and the progression of human rights that have reached far beyond the civil rights movement.
Dr. King dedicated his life to the nonviolent war for civil rights and against hatred in the United States. HIs leadership played a pivotal role in ending segregation for all Black people, leading to the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act was considered a major achievement of the civil rights era. Unfortunately, King was assassinated in April of 1968, but his words and legacy have continued to be the resonating voice for all who continue seeking justice around the world. As King said at the Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Dr. King never chose fear but always chose courage and determination when fighting for human rights in the face of oppression, bigotry, and violence. He refused to allow jail, violence, or the threat of death detour him from his mission. Instead, he stood beside his goal of achieving rights for all through nonviolent protests, sit-ins, and demonstrations.
Dr. King continued to pursue a vision for a more diverse America where all people enjoyed the rights of equality. During a time when the opposition implemented legislation withholding civil rights from People of Color, expressing hatred through beatings and killings, Dr. King continued to march peacefully. He realized that violence was the game of the opposition. He knew that violent retaliation would be what the opposition wanted, so he constantly preached nonviolence and love as the method of overcoming hate.
Dr. King also understood the profound message being sent when attempting to unify people nationwide. Dr. King’s leadership was the overall success of the civil rights movement in the mid-1900s and continues to impact the movement today. While King and other Civil Rights leaders fought tremendous strides for equality, pushing for civil rights remains a challenge today. Dr. King’s legacy is the model for how to combat inequality in any situation. Dr. King’s generation did their part in solidifying their place in history as people who wanted to be equal. The legacy continues, mandating new torchbearers to continue the movement for peace, equality, and civil right.