Since 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a law designating the third Monday in January each year as a national holiday – Martin Luther King Day. This is the homage that the United States pays tribute to the great human rights activist for his great contributions to anti-apartheid activities in the 50s and 60s of the twentieth century.
“I Have a Dream” – One of the most famous speeches in history
Luther King deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless efforts to fight for equal rights for people of color in America. And “I Have a Dream” written by Martin Luther King is considered one of the most famous speeches that inspired many people in history, reflecting a compelling vision and inspiration for important changes. And up to now, that dream still retains its noble and beautiful human values.
Longing for an equal world
In 1963, at the largest anti-apartheid march in American history, Martin Luther King gave the speech I have a dream with all passion and enthusiasm. He inspired not only 250,000 people present at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington but also millions of people worldwide who have been fighting for human rights.
Martin Luther King sounded the alarm, summoning and exhorting humanity to stand up against the cruel treatment of a class of people. He wanted to change the notions and values that were rooted in American society, seemingly unchanged. At that time, many colored people did not have the right to vote and did not share bathrooms, hotels, restaurants, or schools and hospitals with white people.
King’s shocking speech immediately took effect. Less than a year later, on July 2, 1964, US President Johnson signed the Human Rights Law into law, officially recognizing human freedom and equality as fundamental rights protected by law.
Accordingly, a colored person has the right to vote without paying taxes and passing the test. Expressions of discrimination on the basis of race are eliminated. Since then, colored people have gradually appeared on the political stage, showing their talents in all areas of social life, and many even hold key positions.
It can be considered as the initial achievement of years of persistent struggle with many losses and pain. However, Martin Luther King’s dream of an equal America between colors has yet to come true. American society in the 21st century is still a picture with two distinctly bright and dark colors.
Until now, King’s dream is still valid and continues to be a challenge not only for America but also for all of humanity.
Read the eulogy for yourself
In 1954, Martin Luther King became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Evangelical Church in Montgomery (Alabama). A human rights advocate, he was assigned to lead a movement to boycott black buses in Montgomery in 1955 when the law mandated that black people only sit at the back of the bus. The boycott took place after Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man.
During the movement, King was arrested, his house burned, and he was attacked by many white people. The 382-day boycott eventually led the US Supreme Court to abolish racial segregation on the bus network.
From there, King led a series of nationwide non-violent protests against racism. In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization created to unite the struggle for boundaries against discrimination.
In 1963, King was arrested while leading a large-scale anti-apartheid movement in Birmingham. After being released from prison, he continued to participate in mass marches for human rights in many parts of the United States and led campaigns for the right to vote for people of color. A year later, Martin Luther King became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35.
His acceptance speech in Norway shocked the world with the famous statement: “I believe that truth without weapons and unconditional love will have the ultimate effect on reality. That is why the temporary defeat of right is stronger than the victory of evil.”
On the night of April 3, 1968, King went to Memphis to support the movement to demand more compensation for black sanitation workers. He spoke at Bishop Charles Mason’s church in front of supporters, knowing that there were conspirators to kill him. He shared with everyone how he had survived an assassination attempt in 1958 by a deranged woman.
At 6:05 p.m. on April 4, 1968, human rights activist Martin Luther King was shot while standing on a balcony outside his room on the second floor of the Lorraine Hotel. He died an hour later.
The message lasts forever
In memory of the late pastor and human rights activist, President Ronald Reagan signed a law designating the third Monday in January each year as Martin Luther King Day since 1983.
Beginning in 1994, Martin Luther King Day was a national holiday – a move to encourage Americans to participate in community projects against racism.
Nearly half a century has passed since his permanent departure, and the world has witnessed great changes, but the message and belief that King left behind still have a beautiful human value. More importantly, he created a dream that spans both time and space – it is the most intense desire that cannot be extinguished by anything…
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