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Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. While he worked for equal rights for all, his leadership contributed to the overall success of the civil rights movement in the mid-1900s and continues to impact civil rights movements in the present. His message of change through peaceful means added to the movement’s numbers and gave it its moral strength. While MLK and other leaders generated momentous strides for equality, the push for civil rights remains a preeminent challenge today.
In keeping with the World Of Wellesley’s mission with regard to diversity, inclusion and equity, and as we celebrate the life and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we remember not only Dr. King’s words, but also his courage and his sacrifice in the service of justice. His words, best described as powerful, inspiring and devastating in their truth, were drawn from a deep well of courage, from King’s belief in the obligation of every human being to fight for justice, and from his genuine love for humanity. Nelson Mandela said the following about King and his legacy, “let the strivings of us all prove Martin Luther King, Jr. to have been correct when he said that humanity can no longer be tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war. Let the efforts of us all prove that he was not a mere dreamer when he spoke of the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace being more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.
“Let a new age dawn!” A national memorial to King was built near the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The memorial invites visitors to reflect on King’s life and legacy. The World of Wellesley sponsors the town’s annual MLK Day event to remember and celebrate the man, his legacy and to pay forward his message of choosing love over the burden of hatred.