Dr. King’s legacy still lives on

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been dead for 43 years.

But his legacy lives on.

On Monday, we will honor King – a man that preached peace rather than hate, and labored to create a better world rather than simply accept injustice.

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King, who served as pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, was a driving force in the Civil Rights Movement. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery March.

For actions such as these, King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

At the age of 35, King was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to help the further the Civil Rights Movement.

Four years later, King, a man of God who forbade his followers to use violence even when they were assaulted, was assassinated when a sniper shot him while he was standing on the balcony of a Memphis hotel.

More than four decades later, our nation is still pursuing King’s vision of a nation where everyone is truly equal. His dream has not been fully fulfilled. Yet, we will honor King, who had been quoted as saying that he wanted to “be a white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law,” on Monday because he helped our nation see that we should all share the dream of brotherhood.

King said it best when he said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

“I have a dream today!”