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Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  - Civil Rights Advocate (1929-1968)

Born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929, King would become a pastor, one of the world’s leading advocates for non-violent social change, the leading civil rights leader in America, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964, and "Time Magazine’s" ‘Man of the Year’ for 1964, before an assassin’s bullet struck him down in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

His grandfather, a pastor and a founder of Atlanta’s NAACP, had a son, King’s father, who also became a pastor and civil rights leader, leaving young King with a legacy and tradition of service that would lead him on a road to greatness. His fight for civil rights in Montgomery, Alabama, on behalf of Rosa Parks, and all the city’s black residents, soon led to battles at the state, regional and national levels. On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in front of almost 300,000 people, and national television cameras, he delivered his famous, "I Have a Dream" speech.

With unique oratorical skills, King’s messages reached and touched millions of people nationally and around the world, bringing increased attention and concern about the plight of blacks in America. His last sermon, "I See The Promised Land" was given at Mason Temple, in Memphis, the headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, the largest African-American Pentecostal denomination in the United States, only one day before his death.

It ended with the following words: "Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

'Black History' segment written in June, 1998 by David Lodge

 

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