Youth in Action

Information on Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Jr. giving a speech

Biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, The King Center is the official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of America’s greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace.

Created for a joint media campaign to promote "The MLK Celebration: A Day to Dream. A Lifetime to Act," this Seattle Times site provides historical data about the holiday.

In 2005, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute was created at Stanford University to provide an institutional home for a broad range of activities illuminating the Nobel Peace laureate’s life and the movements he inspired.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made headlines across the country as one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement., the largest newspaper database available online, has provided a free archive on the history of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the public to view thousands of original newspaper articles.

Links to MLK Speeches:

Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream

August 28, 1963
In his iconic speech at the Lincoln Memorial for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, King urged America to "make real the promises of democracy." King synthesized portions of his earlier speeches to capture both the necessity for change and the potential for hope in American society.

Martin Luther King, Jr., The Drum Major Instinct

February 4, 1968
King's "Drum Major Instinct" sermon, given on 4 February 1968, was an adaptation of the 1952 homily ‘‘Drum-Major Instincts’’ by J. Wallace Hamilton, a well-known, liberal, white Methodist preacher. King encouraged his congregation to seek greatness, but to do so through service and love. King concluded the sermon by imagining his own funeral, downplaying his famous achievements and emphasizing his heart to do right.

Martin Luther King, Jr., I’ve Been to the Mountaintop

April 3, 1968
On the night before he was killed, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke to an overflowing audience of striking sanitation workers in Memphis. His extemporaneous speech focused on the necessity to keep up in the struggle despite the still-bleak economic and racial conditions. His conclusion first reflected on his near-brush with death in 1958, and then his thunderous assertion that "“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life—longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. . . .And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam

April 4, 1967
At Riverside Church in New York on 4 April 1967, King spoke at an event sponsored by Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. He described how the war was not only morally wrong, but also how it had sharp impact on the lives of Americans at home. Detailing his moral and practical objections to the war, King called for America to not only withdraw from Vietnam but to pursue a "radical revolution of values."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

In an open letter written on April 16, 1963, King responded to a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen titled "A Call For Unity." The clergymen agreed that social injustices existed but argued that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts, not in the streets. King responded that not only was civil disobedience justified in the face of unjust laws, but that "one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

About the Day of Service

In 1994, to further commemorate a man who lived his life in service to others, Congress transformed the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday into a national day of community service.  To honor Dr. King’s legacy, the President-elect and Vice President-elect and their families, joined by Americans in communities all across the country, will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in communities across the Washington, D.C. area.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.