“No figure is more closely identified with the mid-20th century struggle for civil rights than Martin Luther King, Jr. His adoption of nonviolent resistance to achieve equal rights for Black Americans earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King is remembered for his masterful oratorical skills, most memorably in his “I Have a Dream” speech.”


Martin Luther King | “I Have A Dream” Speech | LogistiKHD



January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

“In the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is observed annually on the third Monday in January. The day commemorates the life and work of Dr. King, who was a Baptist minister and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. People are encouraged to use the day to “reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King.” The holiday is typically observed with events such as marches and rallies and speeches by politicians and civil rights leaders.

Efforts to create a national holiday honoring King began soon after his assassination, although legislation for a federal holiday was not passed until 1983. The first nationwide observance of the holiday occurred in 1986.” Source.

“MLK Day is the only federal holiday that is also designated by Congress as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” Participation in service activities has grown each year as more Americans are encouraged to provide meaningful change in their communities.  Whether service meets a tangible need, such as fixing up a school or senior center, builds a sense of community or mutual responsibility. In a pandemic environment, service can take on the form of sending a meal through a meal delivery service, serving as a virtual mentor, or donating money to a charitable cause to help those who lack basic essential items.

No matter the choice, service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community. It breaks down barriers by bringing people from different backgrounds together and it benefits those who choose to serve. Coretta Scott King said, “The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.” Source: US Department of the Interior

Make it a Day On, Not a Day Off


    “Greatness is determined by service!” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Day of Service is a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make communities more equitable and take action to create the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream.  Source


  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor

  • He was named after Protestant reformer Martin Luther

  • He is the only non-president memorialized on the Great Mall in the nation’s capital

  • He started college at the age of 15

  • His ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial

  • He received his doctorate in Systematic Theology

  • His “I Have a Dream” speech, Nobel Peace Prize lecture and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” are among the most revered orations and writings in the English language.

  • Stevie Wonder wrote “Happy Birthday” to help the campaign to create MLK Day. After the 1979 defeat of the (the King Holiday Bill) bill, Wonder wrote “Happy Birthday” and included it on his Hotter Than July album of 1980. The Motown superstar held the Rally for Peace press conference in 1981, when the track came out as a single.” Source


Watch and listen to these iconic MLK speeches. Curated by American Writers Museum and Insider.com

I Have A Dream (1963)

“When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Read a transcript of the speech here.

Martin Luther King | “I Have A Dream” Speech | LogistiKHD

Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (1964)

“Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize Lecture from Oslo, 11 Dec. 1964 (full audio) | NobelPrize

The American Dream (1965)

“I would like to discuss some of the problems that we confront in the world today, and some of the problems that we confront in our own nation by using as a subject The American Dream. I choose this subject because America is essentially a dream. It is a dream of a land where men of all races, of all nationalities, and of all creeds, can live together as brothers. The substance of the dream is expressed in these sublime words, “We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., American Dream | MappingMinds

Our God is Marching on! (How long? Not long!) (1965)

“How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, you shall reap what you sow. How long? Not long … How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,”

Listen to full speech here.

Proud to be Maladjusted (1966)

“There are some things in our nation and the world for which I am proud to be maladjusted and wish all men of goodwill would be maladjusted until the good society is realized. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to a religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few, leaving millions of people smothering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.”

Proud To Be Maladjustede | The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

The Other America (1967)

“I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”

MLK: The Other America | The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence (1967)

“If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read ‘Vietnam.’ It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that ‘America will be’ are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.”

Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence | The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

The Three Evils of Society (1967)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 speech at the National Conference on New Politics in Chicago. Here, he speaks about what he calls the Triple Evils: War, Racism and Poverty.

“And so the collision course is set. The people cry for freedom and the congress attempts to legislate repression. Millions, yes billions, are appropriated for mass murder; but the most meager pittance of foreign aid for international development is crushed in the surge of reaction. Unemployment rages at a major depression level in the black ghettos, but the bi-partisan response is an anti-riot bill rather than a serious poverty program.”

The Three Evils of Society | The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

I’ve Been to the Mountaintop (1968)

“All we say to America is to be true to what you said on paper…Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights. And so just as I say we aren’t going to let any dogs or water hoses turn us around, we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on. We need all of you.”

Martin Luther King’s Last Speech: I’ve Been to the Mountaintop | The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Listen to the full speech here.