R.I.P. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) by Ron Worthy

Although I did not grow up when Dr. Martin Luther King was still alive, I benefitted greatly from his non-violent movement and achievements as a powerful orator and community leader.  Like many, I heard Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech throughout my years in school.

Growing up in a predominantly Black city ensured that I would see a image of Dr. King in every classroom and on the fans of every church.  On this day, the day he was killed, let’s all try to take a moment of silence for this incredible leader who made an indelible impact on our lives and our future.  Thank you Dr. King.

Here is a nice writeup from CNN.com:

On April 4, 1968, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

On April 3, King spoke to an audience at Bishop Charles J. Mason Temple making one of his many famous speeches saying, “But it really doesn’t matter with me now,” he declared, “because I’ve been to the mountaintop [and] I’ve seen the Promised Land.” He continued, “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.”

He was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. A white segregationist, James Earl Ray, was later convicted of the crime.

After her husband’s death, Coretta Scott King established the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change (also known as the King Center) to promote Kingian concepts of nonviolent struggle.

She also led the successful effort to honor her husband with a federally mandated King national holiday, which was first celebrated in 1986 Additionally, she and the King siblings successfully pursued a civil case in 1999 – King Family versus Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators (full transcript) – in which the jury concluded that King was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.

Here are a few songs that instantly come to mind when thinking about Dr. King:

The Staples Singers – Respect Yourself

Sam Cooke – A Change Gonna Come

U2 – In the Name of Love

Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions – We’re a Winner

Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions – Keep on Pushin

Read more about Dr. King here.

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