Only a week after school started back, we get a day off. Seems very odd that the first day we get off is only a few days after the start of the 2012 Spring term. It would be considered odd but we must remember why we are getting off. We are getting off in honor of the birth of one of the greatest Americans to have lived. His name is Martin Luther King, Jr.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929 to Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King as their middle son. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta but he skipped both the 9th and 12th grade to go on to enter Morehouse College where he would graduate with a degree in sociology. He then enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. He would go on to be a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama, marry Corretta Scott, and have 5 children with her.
Dr. King was the change in his time because he lived by it. After studying non-violent resistance, he put it into practice by organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Park was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white man on December 1st, 1955. The boycott would go on for 385 days. The situation became so tense that Dr. King’s house would be bombed. The situation eventually reached the Supreme Court where racial segregation ended on the Montgomery bus system.
King organized the Civil Rights movement with blacks and whites all over the United States with peaceful marches fighting for equal rights of African-Americans all over the country. His most famous march was on Washington D.C. in August 28th, 1963 where he delivered his very famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Take a few minutes today and watch the speech at the video and think about what he meant by those words. This march would put much pressure for the United States Congress to pass the Civil rights Act of 1964. Dr. King would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions.
In honor of Dr. King and his dream for America, one day of the year is set aside for a remembrance and celebration. On August 22, 2011 a memorial stood, open to the public, of Martin Luther King Jr. looking across the National Mall with his arms crossed, broken from the center of two marble halves. This memorial remembers Dr. King’s life works and dreams for this country, and it includes some of his most memorable quotations.
James Madison University also celebrates the dream of Dr. King. Each year, a formal memorial service takes place with a candlelight ceremony. Organizations and administrators alike come from across the university to join in the celebration and light a candle to represent their belief in the dream and in their country.
Dr. Calvin Mackie, this year’s guest speaker, challenged and inspired those who attended the event to live a life like Dr. King. He spoke about wishing that students would use their time wisely to make a greater impact on society and to reach their full potential as human beings. “Each day,” he described, “you should wake up running.” If everyone were as proactive and passionate as Dr. King, who knows what kind of world we would live in today.