We recognize Martin Luther King, Jr’s impact today

15 January 2024- Whether its through contemplation, acts of service, or however you recognize the day, we should all take a moment to remember the life and works of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Originally born Michael King, Jr, the late Martin Luther King, Jr was born today in 1929. King’s name was changed at age five after his father decided to change both their names from Michael to Martin Luther to honor the 16th-Century Protestant theologian.

King, Jr. earned a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955. He had previously received bachelors degrees from Morehouse College and The Crozer Theological Seminary in sociology and divinity, respectively.

Always at King’s side, his wife Coretta Scott originally met over the phone during King’s time at Boston University. King was talking to friends that he had yet to meet any woman he seriously liked. After reaching out to a friend, he was eventually connected with Coretta Scott and had a short phone conversation. That conversation led to a marriage that lasted 15 years.

During his time leading the Civil Rights movement, King was jailed thirty times in just a 12-year period. The FBI tried to coerce Hoover into suicide by conducting a blackmail campaign against him, and he was already under fire before he was fatally shot in 1968. Ten years before he was killed, a woman stabbed him in the chest at a book signing event in Harlem. Responding doctors said that if King so much as sneezed after the stabbing, the wound would have been fata.

King is not only a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal, but he also has a Grammy award. His speech titled “Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” was recorded onto vinyl and earned him the award for Best Spoken Word Album.

Cited and honored all over the world, King has more than 50 statues of him and honors in over 1,000 cities worldwide. Statues include ones in England at Westminster Abbey, Cuba, and elsewhere. That doesn’t even include the countless schools and 1,000 plus streets named after him worldwide.

Take some time today to reflect on Dr King, his works, and his impacts on where we are and where we have been.