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Martin Luther King Day

The late U.S. civil rights leader and Nobel peace prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

“In the brief time Dr. King walked upon this earth, he devoted his life to strengthening the content of the American character and called on our nation to live up to its founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for its citizens,” said President George W. Bush.

A Baptist minister,Dr. King was one of the world's best-known advocates of non-violent social change. Applying the principle of nonviolence to the civil rights movement in the U.S., Martin Luther King preached racial equality at a time when black Americans were still victims of segregation and discrimination. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, he traveled across the U.S. and around the world.

Martin Luther King's message of tolerance brought about enormous change in the U.S. He gave one of his most memorable speeches in August 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:

"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."

Martin Luther King appealed not to resentment but to reason, not to anger but to conscience. In 1968, he was slain by an assassin. He was thirty-nine-years old.

During his life, Martin Luther King dreamed of an America where citizens would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. He dreamed of an America where all citizens would enjoy the riches of freedom and the security of justice. "Through his determination, spirit, and resolve,” said President Bush, “Dr. King helped lift souls and lead one of the greatest movements for equality and freedom in history."