Remembering and honoring civil rights' icon

ALABAMA (WSFA) - Today will be a day of full ceremonies honoring civil rights' leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The third Monday in January each year is observed to commemorate King's nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement.

He was born Michael Luther King, Jr. on January 15th, 1929. His name was later changed to Martin. He joined his family's long lineage of pastors at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Martin Luther King, Jr. acquired his college achievements from Morehouse College with a B. A., Crozer Theological Seminary with his B. D., and later his doctorate from Boston University.

In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott with whom he had two sons and two daughters.

Martin Luther King became the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. In 1955, King began the "first Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States," the bus boycott ,with the support of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

During the 382 days bus boycott, King was arrested; his home was bombed; and he was subject to personal abuse.

Despite his trials and tribulations, King did not let hatred and prejudices deter him from his goal of seeking equality and human rights for ALL men and women.

In the eleven years between 1957 and 1968, King wrote five books, led a protest in Birmingham, Alabama that caught the attention of the world and inspired his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," directed the march on Washington, D.C. for Negroes' right to vote where he delivered his infamous speech, "I Have A Dream," received five honorary degrees, and accepted his title "Man of the Year" by Times magazine in 1963.

He was the youngest man to win a Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35.

During a protest speech on the balcony of his hotel on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, King was assassinated. Although his life came to an end, his teachings and dreams lived on granting African Americans their civil rights and making him one of the most notarized, symbolic figures for equality and peace in the entire world.

He would have been 81-years-old on January 15th.

Today also recognizes Robert E. Lee's birthday. His celebration is planned for tomorrow at the First White House of the Confederacy.

Events honoring King:

Auburn Montgomery's "Day on, Not Day Off" event

Prattville First Missionary Baptist Church ceremony at 10:00 a.m.

Montgomery's Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church event begins at 12:00 p.m.

The Montgomery Improvement Association- parade and rally at 1:30 p.m. starting on Catoma Street and ending at the State Capitol.

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