Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Day has had no more profound importance to this country than it does this year. With our culture, our rights, and our peace threatened, we draw upon the teachings and strength of Doctor King, even forty-nine years after his death.
Please take a moment out of your busy schedule today to contemplate and envision your version of a perfect world for you, your countrywomen and men. Think about what you’re going to do, how you’re going to act, and what you will contribute to make sure we get to your dream, to King’s dream, and to our dream of equality, peace, and prosperity.
Think for a moment about what it means to protest peacefully and allow love to prosper over hate. I invite you to remember that feeling. Hold it close and dear to your soul. The dream is still alive. It can bend but it cannot break. We will stay strong and we will speak up for those without voices. That is our job. That is our duty. That is what Doctor King taught us.
Eight things you never knew about MLK:
1. When King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935, he became the youngest male ever to receive the award.
2. Martin truly struggled after the death of his grandmother when he was 12 years old. He attempted suicide by jumping out of a second story window.
3. He was a huge Star Trek fan and even convinced actress Nichelle Nichols to play Uhura beyond the first season.
4. Over the years he spent in the civil rights movement, King was arrested 29 times.
5. King survived an assassination attempt in 1958 when a woman stabbed him in the chest with a seven-inch letter opener during a book signing. He spent hours in surgery and weeks in a hospital bed.
6. MLK was born Michael and not Martin. His father changed his name after a trip to Germany during which he was inspired by the teachings of Martin Luther, the Reformation Protestant. King Sr changed his own name also.
7. King skipped both grades 9 and 12, entering college at the age 15 in 1944. It was actually the president of Morehouse College, Benjamin E Mays, that inspired Martin to enter the ministry. It was at the age of 19 he received his bachelor’s degree.
8. The portion of his “I have a dream” speech that resulted in the speech title was actually improvised by King and not previously written.