"Dr. Martin Lutheran King led the massive civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, and wrote the inspirational "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." In 1963, he directed a peaceful civil rights march by 250,000 people in Washington where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech with its vision of a color-blind society. The following year, Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act and at age 35 he became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was supporting a strike by sanitation workers.
President Obama focused on King's broad themes — equality, justice and peaceful resistance and urged Americans to harness the energy of the civil rights movement for today's challenges and to remain committed to King's philosophy of peaceful resistance.
"Let us draw strength from those earlier struggles," Obama said. "Change has never been simple or without controversy."
— as the nation confronts, 48 years after King's "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, some of the same issues of war, an economic crisis face us today.