A Baptist minister by training, King became a civil rights activist early in his career, leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helping to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, raising public consciousness of the civil rights movement and establishing King as one of the greatest orators in American history.
In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means.
King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Martin Luther King Day was established as a national holiday in the United States in 1986. In 2004, King was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.
Before King had died, though, he spoke earlier about what people should remember him for if they are around for his funeral. He said rather than his awards and where he went to school, people should talk about how he fought peacefully for justice:
“I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Junior tried to give his life serving others. I would like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Junior tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I have tried to be right on the walk with them. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major – Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.
“1968 Year In Review, UPI.com”
Do you have a dream – One which is bigger than yourself – One which includes the well-being and benefit of others?
Then allow Martin Luther King’s life to be an inspiration to you.
Let your life be:
A life given to serving others
A life dedicated to loving people
A life committed to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the less fortunate
A life which will pursue a Dream until it is accomplished
A life devoted to right living
A life without a dream is like a ship without a rudder.
What kind of dream am I speaking about, here?
The one which has to do with your life’s calling and purpose.
One of the meanings for the word ‘dream’, according to the Oxford Dictionary is: A long-held ambition or wish.
Do you have an ambition or wish to:
Make a difference in the lives of others?
Accomplish specific things you have wanted to do for some time – Maybe to pass all your examinations with top grades, to make your parents proud, or to fulfill something else which you are passionate about?
Become someone who would be recorded in history as ‘outstanding’ in the field you pursued, like Martin Luther King Junior and several others?
Now the road to accomplishing dreams is not always smooth. Many times it may include challenges and adversities. But despite that, one thing is certain: If you pursue your Dreams persistently and consistently – You will always accomplish them.