Martin Luther King, Jr. is probably on my top 10 list of people that I'd want to meet.
Monday was MLK Day, & I spent a lot of time thinking about who Martin Luther King, Jr. was. We all know a little bit about Mr. King. He was a pastor, a speaker, a Civil Rights leader, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He gave the famous "I Have a Dream Speech." When I went through school, I thought he was a really good man. It wasn't until I graduated high school, though, that I gained a deeper respect for him.
The summer after my senior year, I got to choose our vacation destination, & I wanted to go to Washington, D.C. I had gone with my family the year before & loved it, so I wanted to go back. On the way,.we went on a Civil Rights tour of the southern U.S. Our first stop was Memphis, Tennessee. There, we saw the place where Mr. King was assassinated, the Lorraine Hotel. It made everything so much more real. I saw the place where his assassin stood, & the room where Mr. King stayed.
From there, we went on to Washington, D.C. and Charleston, South Carolina. We saw where Abraham Lincoln (who signed the Emancipation Proclamation & was a supporter of Civil Rights) was shot, & the house where he died. We saw the Lincoln Memorial. We went to a Civil Rights museum, where we were taught how to participate in a peaceful protest, like the protests held at lunch counters years ago. We learned about other types of protests as well, & the dangers that were faced, even during peaceful protests - How protesters were trained not to fight back if they were hit or kicked, & all of the attacks on protesters.
My family saw a few more locations as well, but Maegan (my friend who went on the trip with us) & I had to fly back early for a college event. My mom's part of the trip was funded by an educational grant, & she used the experience to teach a class about historical movements. You can read more about it here.
If you haven't already (or even if you have), you should take the time to read King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail." This was another thing that made me gain even more respect for Mr. King. It's where his famous quote, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" came from. Here's a link, if you're interested.
When I think about the influence Mr. King had, not just in the U.S., but in other countries, & on my family personally, I can't help but admire him. He truly was a hero.
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