Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mr. Voelger period 8 grade 7 social project By Chris Allen Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today our nation honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. whose life helped pave the way for tomorrow's inauguration of the first black U.S president. You may know a lot about King already: · About his nonviolent campaign for equal rights for blacks. · About his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 in which he said: "I have a dream that my four little 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." · And about how he was shot to death in 1968. His dream was an inspiration to Barack Obama, who was 6 years old when King was assassinated. In a speech given two years ago at the church in Atlanta, Georgia, where King was a preacher, Obama talked about the way King "led this country through the wilderness." Obama said: "He did it with words -- words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white, not just the Christian but the Jew, not just the Southerner but also the Northerner. He led with words, but he also led with deeds." You may know less, though, about what King was like as a kid. Since today is the national holiday commemorating his birth, we thought we'd tell you about his younger years: He was born at noon on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta. His birth certificate says his name was Michael, but he was baptized in 1931 as Martin. He had a brother and a sister. His father and grandfather were ministers of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Young Martin made his closest childhood friends at Ebenezer's Sunday school and later said the school helped him learn how to get along with people. Black Americans needed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but above all America needed him. The significant qualities of this special man cannot be underestimated nor taken for granted. Within a span of 13 years from 1955 to his murder in 1968 he was able to expose America from many wrongs. His ways of protesting involved nonviolent passive resistance to racial injustice. It was the right prescription for our country, and it was right on time. Hope in America was waning on the part of many Black Americans, but Martin Luther King, Jr. provided a candle along with a light. He also provided this nation with a road map so that all people could locate and share together in this great democracy.