Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 15 January 1929; he was a great man who worked for racial equality and civil rights in the United States of America. After experiencing racism early in life, he decided to do to something to make the world a better and fairer place by putting an end to racism; that meant, among other things, protesting against:
- African Americans not being allowed to attend the same schools as white Americans
- African Americans being required to sit at the back of public busses
- African Americans not being allowed to eat in "white only" restaurants
- African Americans not being allowed to vote
For his work in bringing about changes in a peaceful manner, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace at the age of thirty-five; he was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.
Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. Click here to learn more about his assassination.
If you have read the information above, you can now watch the following video; I´m sure you´ll understand all of it:
His most famous speech is known as "I Have a Dream...", it is about how he wanted to have equal rights as white people. He delivered it on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on 28 August 1963. Here is the audio, text and video of the speech, but in the video below you can listen to the most famous part of his speech; the subtitles are in Spanish, which may be useful because his accent may not easy for you to understand.
Read carefully these excerpts from his speech, :
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."
"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.'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today ..."
Do you want to check how much you remember of his speech? Do this Fill-in-the-Gaps exercise about it.
After reading the information above, don´t you feel you can understand better why African-Americans in the US became so excited when Barack Obama became their president? The motto of his campaign, "Yes, we can" also becomes more meaningful, doesn´t it?
Click here to learn about Martin Luther King and read all sorts of information about him: from the history of civil rights in the USA, Martin Luther Kings´s sermons and speeches, rap lyrics about him...