Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century. He is remembered for his leadership in the civil rights struggles during the 1950s and 1960s in the American South. Dr. King is also remembered for his powerful speeches and sermons, his philosophy of nonviolent resistance,” and his commitment to ending segregation, unjust laws, and poverty.
Dr. King’s father, also named Martin, was a Baptist pastor, and he taught young Martin that segregation was wrong. These many conversations and experiences with his father would shape young Martin’s life in powerful ways and would, in fact, prepare him to be a great American leader.
Although Martin’s life ended violently, he will always be remembered for his peaceful marches and for his speeches about social change. Every year, on the third Monday of January, Americans celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national holiday. It also allows Americans to remember that the dream of equality and the promise of justice for all is still a work-in-progress.
When we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. we are not only remembering a great American, but a great person. Dr. King said that he wanted to be remembered as a person who “gave his life in the service of others.” He wanted to be remembered as a person who fed the hungry and loved other people—regardless of race.
The above is an excerpt from All About Martin Luther King, Jr. written by Todd Outcalt and published by Blue River Press 2016.
Blue River Press publishes The All About…Series, which also includes Teachers Guides. The All About…Series are written for middle school aged children to teach them about the people, places, and events that shape our world.