He Changed a Nation
January 20, 2014
Sometimes we wonder, “can I change the world?" And the answer is yes. If you are passionate enough, one person can change an entire nation. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of these passionate people. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 as Michael King, Jr. to the parents of Michael King, Sr. and Alberta Williams. At fifteen, he entered college to begin his bachelor studies. By the time King was nineteen, he was an ordained minister with a sociology degree in hand. At twenty-five, he assumed the pulpit at Dexter Avenue Church in Montgomery, Alabama. His studies created a foundation of love and pacifism that would become his way of life.
It was the events of the following year in Montgomery that pushed King’s work into the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. That one act lead King to preside over the entire bus boycott operation in Montgomery, which then led the US Supreme court to strike down the segregation bus laws in that area. With that success, King organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957.
King was indeed a powerhouse of change. Despite hardships and abuses, like being thrown in jail to having his house bombed, he persevered and prevailed as the foremost civil rights leader in America. He organized protests and rallies, and he made appearances and numerous speeches. His “I Have a Dream” speech is probably the most recognized and famous of all. Given on August 28, 1963, he addressed over 200,000 people in the March on Washington.
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 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’..."
With this dream, non-violent protests, a foundation in love, and a strong moral compass, King changed a nation. And that is what we celebrate, the triumph and passion of a man who believed we are all brothers and sisters no matter what our belief system or skin color.
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we...will be able to join hands and sing...Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!"
Midwest Genealogy Center