For Black History Month, A More Perfect Blog will feature profiles of influential and heroic African-American leaders from our curriculum, Being An American: Exploring the Ideals That Unite Us. Use the profiles to start a class discussion on what makes a hero and how each of the people we describe is heroic.
Martin Luther King, Jr. persevered for civil rights throughout his life. King was born in Georgia in 1929. He found for desegregation and equal rights for African Americans by speaking out and leading marches. He always preached non-violence as a means for change.
The most important march of King’s career was the March on Washington in 1963. A quarter of a million people packed the National Mall. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In his speech, King referred to the “architects of our republic” and their commitment to freedom. He electrified the crowd with his speech, saying, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
In the years that followed, King led civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama. He always urged moderation in non-violent protest. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated in 1968. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral was attended by 300,000 people, and his courageous life continues to inspire people today.