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Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten….America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness—justice.” Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. In his lifetime, he was Africa America’s preeminent leader for Civil/Human Rights. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a minister, scholar, and activist who consistently advocated peace and nonviolence; with an unrelenting activism toward the elimination of racism and injustice and the advancement of equality and democracy. Dr. King, a 1964 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, is admired by the people and world leaders, is known globally as the preeminent icon for anti-war movements (esp. Vietnam) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out against the war in Vietnam by proposing a five-point plan: 1. End the bombing; 2. declare a cease-fire; 3. stop the spread to other Indo-Chinese countries; 4. recognize the National Liberation Front; and 5. set a date for withdraw (“A Time to Break Silence,” Martin Luther King, Jr., Freedomways Magazine, 1967).  King said of war: “The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” Always possessing a keen sense of history, Dr. Martin Luther King stated in 1967 that he would not be a candidate for President of the United States. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 and his death was a catalyst for riots in American cities, and later modest reforms. The struggle to make his birthday a national holiday took years. According to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project site (www.mlkmemorial.org) it took two and 1/2 decades—from proposal to dedication—to establish the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. The dedication is scheduled for Sunday, October 16, 2011.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.— Martin Luther King, Jr.

SELECTED SOURCES:

Martin Luther King, Jr. A Bibliography Of Titles In Smithsonian Institution Libraries, http://www.sil.si.edu/silpublications/mlkbibliography.pdf

Congressional Testimony, “Submitted to the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks The Honorable Senator Craig Thomas, Chairman June 3, 2003” on the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Projection Foundation Inc.

History of the Memorial (Timeline)

Martha Minow, “After Brown: What Would Martin Luther King Say?”, 12 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 599 (2008). Accessed September 30, 2011:

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