Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the years since his tragic passing, his legacy of faith and leadership has inspired generations of young Americans to take positive action in support of the causes they believe in.
King was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement who successfully protested racial discrimination through nonviolent activism and civil disobedience at the state and federal level.
Among the many notable accomplishments in his life, King led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and in 1957 became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He continued to organize nonviolent protests in cities like Albany, Georgia, Selma, Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama.
Perhaps most famously, King led thousands of peace-seeking Americans from different races and backgrounds in the “March on Washington” where he delivered his powerful “I Have A Dream Speech” that continues to resonate today.
In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his brave efforts to combat racial inequality through peaceful but impactful methods.
Following his assassination in 1968, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a federal holiday into law on the first Monday in January near King’s birthday on January 15. In 2011, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was unveiled on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Though here left this earth 50 years ago today, Dr. King continues to serve as a role model for young Americans seeking to fight for positive social change. Just recently, 6 American teenagers began their symbolic 50 mile journey from Dundee, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee to honor King’s legacy and bring awareness to civil rights, justice issues and racial reconciliation. Their actions are a shining example of how King continues to inspire young people to peacefully advocate for change today.
We honor his legacy today and join millions of Americans in promising never to forget the sacrifices he made in the name of freedom and equality for every American.