Loading... Please wait...


History Lesson: MLK Day

Posted by

Born January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia by the name of Michael Luther King Jr., MLK would grow up to become one of America's most recognizable figures. And yes, he did indeed change his name from Michael to Martin. That's why you know him as Martin Luther King Jr. instead of Michael Luther King Jr.

While we celebrate his legacy on MLK Day, apparently not many Americans are as familiar with his background as they should be. Let's venture back into history to discover how this young man blossomed into a leader and what he did to help start the civil rights movement.

The Making of a Legend

Having been raised by a family of pastors in his home congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, young Martin was well versed when it came to the scriptures and teachings of Jesus Christ. He attended segregated public schools in the state of Georgia, graduating high school at the early age of fifteen before enrolling in Morehouse College. He received a B.A. Degree from Morehouse in 1948 and then went on to study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of the mostly white graduating class. He earned his B.D. From Crozer in 1951 and then proceeded to begin a fellowship he had won. During this time, MLK enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University where he received his doctorate in 1953. While attending school in Boston, Martin met and married a woman by the name of Coretta Scott. The two of them would go on to welcome two sons and two daughters into the world. His faith played an important role in all that he did, including his education and his work as a civil rights leader.

Civil Rights Contributions

By 1954, Martin Luther King Jr. had already earned a reputation as a strong leader when it came to race relations. He was the practicing pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama when the civil rights movement started to gain momentum. At this time, MLK was also a member of the NAACP's executive committee. (NAACP stands for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) The following year, Martin accepted the leadership role for the first nonviolent demonstration that turned the tides - the bus boycott. Having lasted 382 days, the boycott came to an end when the Supreme Court declared the laws requiring segregation on buses as unconstitutional. From this point forward, white and black Americans were to be treated as equals when utilizing public transportation.

Throughout his lifetime, Martin Luther King Jr. made it a point to demonstrate that progress can be made through means of peace. Throughout his 11 year tenure as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, MLK traveled millions of miles and spoke at hundreds of events in areas where injustice was prevalent. While he was traveling and speaking, Martin also wrote a collection of books that would later be used by professors and educators when teaching about his legacy. His “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is a personal manifesto that lays out his vision for a better America where all men and women are treated as equals. He also led the peaceful march on Washington D.C. where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” address to a crowd consisting of at least 250,000 people. While preparing to lead another protest march in Memphis, Tennessee, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of his hotel room. People from all walks of life and all over the country celebrate him and his contributions to the civil rights movement to this day every year on his birthday.

View Comments

Holiday Hours

Christmas is a time to spend with family and loved ones.  We're closing up today, December 22nd, at 2:00 pm so our employees can go home and continue holiday preparations.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we're not expecting any "flag emergencies"!  If one should come up, please email us, we're always [...]

Read More »

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: “The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”

Many of us have witnessed or experienced a serious illness, an accident, personal assault, or other traumatic events. As time passes, the grief typically fades, the pain lessens, and life gets back to a seemingly normal state. Most people recover from these traumatic events, but some may experience severe distress, anxiety and depression for months [...]

Read More »

How to: Respect the American Flag

RespectNever dip the American flag. Dipping a flag is when you tilt a flag downward in front of a person or thing as a sign of respect. The U.S. Flag Code states that the American flag should never be dipped.Avoid using the American flag for decorative purposes. American flag buntings are available to be used [...]

Read More »

The Story of Flag Day in the USA

The very first recognition of the Flag Day celebration started in 1777, less than one year after Betsy Ross received the order from General Washington to make the first flag. The Second Continental Congress stated, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue [...]

Read More »

Why Are Dogs Scared of Fireworks?

Do fireworks scare your dog? He’s not alone. While they’re fun for humans, the loud, unexpected sounds of fireworks cause stress and anxiety for a lot of dogs. Before July 4th rolls around, here are eleven things to know about why your dog gets anxious and what you can do to help.1. It’s normal if [...]

Read More »

President’s Day: Influence on our Flag

Prior to the 20th century, all acts dictating the regulation of the American flag were created by Congress. In 1912, President Taft established proportional regulations and the precise arrangement for all future US flags. Eisenhower made modifications in 1959 to reflect the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the nation. Without the [...]

Read More »

Q: What's the Oldest National Flag?

A: The flag of Denmark has been used continuously since January 1st, 1625.  The current design of a white Scandinavian cross on a red back ground was adopted in 1625 and its square shape in 1748. In Denmark it is known as the 'Dannebrog' or 'Danish cloth'. Although Denmark was never part of the Roman Empire, similar designs [...]

Read More »

Veteran's Day

Thank you to all the veterans who have put their lives on the line for our freedom. Although it should be every day, today we set aside to ensure that you get the recognition that you deserve. Every day you are putting yourself out there and we thank you. You risk yourself for the good [...]

Read More »

Jeff Parness and the National 9/11 Flag

Flags.com is proud to announce a new monthly feature on our blog. We want to highlight a different person or organization who is making a difference in the world using the powerful symbols of flags. For the inaugural post, we are highlighting the good that Jeff Parness has been doing. We were in the audience [...]

Read More »