Mayor’s Column: Celebrating the service of MLK

Mayor Mignogna reflects on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy in to a friend.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Next week, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honor the memory of this civil rights pioneer who dared to dream.

Dr. King followed the nonviolent protest philosophies of Gandhi and constantly reminded his followers that their fight for equality would be victorious if they did not resort to bloodshed. Between 1957 and 1968, Dr. King traveled over six million miles and gave over 2,500 speeches, while writing five books in support of civil rights and equality for all Americans.

On Aug. 23, 1963, more than 250,000 people gathered in Washington D.C. where Dr. King led a peaceful march to the Capitol Building to support the passing of laws that guaranteed every American equal civil rights. It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that Dr. King delivered his legendary speech later entitled, “I Have a Dream.”

During his crusade, Dr. King was awarded five honorary degrees and named “Man of the Year” by Time Magazine in 1963. At the age of 35, he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and donated $54,123 of his own money to the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, this man of peace was violently assassinated.

“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 my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…”

We should all strive to live this dream in tribute to Dr. King.