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Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, January 17, 2019



Every third Monday in January is a national holiday to honor the life, ideals, and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr.  Assassinated in April of 1968, his legacy still lives on today through the observance of this holiday. Best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs, Martin Luther King was also a pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the African Civil Rights Movement.  During this period of American history the American Civil Rights Movement was at its height as minorities, mainly African-Americans, protested the many laws and racial prejudices that maintained their status as second-class citizens.  As a Christian minister, Dr. King's main influence was Jesus Christ and Christian gospels with strong emphasis on Jesus’ commandment of loving your neighbors as yourself, loving God above all, and loving your enemies by praying for them and loving them. He was also strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism. With such inspiration Dr. King and several other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of the black churches to conduct non-violent protests in search of civil rights reform. 

One of these protests was the March on Washington in 1963, where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, one of the most well-known speeches in American history and marking King as one of the greatest orators in American history. In 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In the final years of his life he expanded his work to include poverty and the Vietnam War. In 1968 he was planning another occupation of Washington relating to these issues when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by a white man who opposed King’s views on racial equality. Nationwide riots ensued in response to his murder and a national day of mourning was issued by the president days after his death. Although his life was cut short at an early age, King’s legacy still lives on today. Just days after his assassination Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that prohibited discrimination in housing based on race, religion, or national origin that was later expanded. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal after his death. In 1986 Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a national holiday as he became a national icon in the history of American progressiveness. The only other two people who have national holidays honoring them are George Washington and Christopher Columbus which exemplifies the significance Dr. King has had on American history. And although inequality is a tremendous issues still facing the U.S. and the world today, commemorating an idol who fought to better the world through nonviolence helps inspire change and improvement in us all and is what makes this holiday so important.  

There are a lot of activities happening around Boston this weekend to celebrate and pay tribute to Dr. King.  Check out our Go Global Facebook page!


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