Held on the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King Jr Day honours the work and dreams of Martin Luther King Jr and celebrates the life and achievements of this influential American civil rights leader.
Martin Luther King Jr was born on 15 January 1929. An American Baptist Minister, he grew up in the Southern United States under segregation, a policy that required Blacks to use separate facilities to Whites and to attend different schools. King rightly believed that the policy of segregation was unjust and he spoke out openly about it. He organized protests and marches to raise awareness and try to affect change. He was a civil rights activist who had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s.
One of the key beliefs of Martin Luther King Jr was that protests against the government should be peaceful in nature. He taught a policy of civil disobedience and peaceful resistance, hoping to bring people together, not tear them apart. He is especially well known for his “I Have a Dream Speech,” which he gave in 1963. Sadly, Dr King’s life was cut short when he was assassinated on 4 April 1968, aged 39.
Among many other honours, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and he continues to be remembered as one of the most influential and inspirational African-American leaders in history.