“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will, and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
King’s quote sums up his desire to live for what he believed was right rather than to merely live. This week we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., an historical giant for the cause of social justice and civil rights, born January 15, 1929. King was just forty-one when an assassin’s bullet took his life. But he accomplished more in his short lifetime than most of us could in several. King received at least fifty honorary degrees from colleges and universities across the country. On October 14, 1964, he became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for leading nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in the U.S. In 1965, the American Jewish Committee awarded him the American Liberties Medallion for his “exceptional advancement of the principles of human liberty.” In November 1967, he made a 24-hour trip to the United Kingdom to receive an honorary degree from Newcastle University, the first African-American to receive this honor.
In addition to three Grammy Awards nominations, the civil rights leader posthumously won one for Best Spoken Word Recording in 1971 for “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam”. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded King the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The MORE library system has several books, e-books, audiobooks, and movies about King. Even more materials are available about social justice and combating racism. If you would like to learn more, your library can help. All you need is a free library card and your curiosity. What do you want to do with your life?