A young boy grows up in a time of segregation and is moved by destiny into leadership of the modern civil rights movement. This young boy was Martin Luther King, Jr.
During his lifetime, King demonstrated his abilities as a leader. He was an American clergyman, an activist, and a prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He authored five major books and hundreds of articles and speeches. His principal accomplishment was to raise the hopes of Black Americans and to bind them in effective direct-action campaigns that advanced civil rights by using nonviolent civil disobedience.
The theme of nonviolence that runs throughout his career left a decisive mark on American and world history. King's dream of a peaceful world has inspired many. His activism played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation. He was also a major voice in the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the age of thirty-five, he became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers, he was assassinated. The work he courageously began was then left for others to continue.
In 1983, Congress passed a law designating the third Monday in January a national holiday in his honor. Dr. King's legacy can be celebrated by participation in a National Day of Service. No matter where people are in America, they have an opportunity to join this effort and serve their communities.
Visit National Day of Service website for more information.