Today, the nation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968), a man most remembered for his work in fighting for equal rights of African Americans, who were called Negro or colored during his lifetime.
Just one generation ago, during the early years of the lives of my parents, my family lived in a segregated society and had to endure things such as sitting in the back of the bus on public transportation, drinking from public water fountains marked for “colored only,” or going through the back door in a restaurant and not being able to sit inside to eat their meal. Schools for my parents and grandparent's generations were segregated and had out of date books and materials and second class school facilities.
But thanks to the work of people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless other unsung heroes, these things are no longer part of my family history. Today, on the 81st birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I reflect on his sacrifices and thank him for his leadership in the fight for Civil Rights so that my generation and others that follow are able to have a life of freedom and equality, thereby changing the course of our family histories.
Learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by visiting the website of The King Center. Also read other tributes to Dr. King from other genealogy bloggers, Remembering Dr. King.
Originally posted January 18, 2010