The Larger Meaning of the King Holiday

From the Selma to Montgomery taken March 25, 1965. MLK, Jr. at Center.
Photo from the Selma to Montgomery taken March 25, 1965. MLK, Jr. at center.

Lest we forget why we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday today, we must understand that it is more than about one man, but about an entire movement for civil rights.  King is recognized as its most significant leader, but the leaders were many and it took thousands of men, women, and children to effect change in our nation’s laws.

So often, college students of this generation do not truly understand what is meant when they are told “people gave their lives for the simple act of voting.”  The new film Selma helps to illustrate that struggle for this generation, but today as we think about the meaning of the King holiday, it is worth being reminded that those risks were very real as seen in this original news clip from “Bloody Sunday,” the first of the Selma marches that took place on March 7, 1965.

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