not resort to violence.
We will not degrade ourselves with
Love will not be returned with
Martin Luther King,
Click here to listen to the famous speech "I Have a Dream," delivered by Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 23,
It was December, 1955, and Martin Luther
King, Jr. had just received his doctorate degree in theology（神学）. He had moved to Montgomery（ 蒙哥马利）, Alabama to preach at a Baptist
church. He saw there, as in many other southern states, that
African-Americans had to ride in the back of public buses. Dr. King knew
that this law violated the rights of every African-American. He organized
and led a boycott（联合抵制）of the public buses in
the city of Montgomery. Any person, black or white, who was against segregation（种族隔离）refused to use public
transportation. Those people who boycotted were threatened or attacked by
other people, or even arrested or jailed by the police. After 382 Days of
boycotting the bus system, the Supreme
Court（最高法院）declared that the Alabama state segregation law was
African-Americans were not only segregated on buses throughout the
south. Equal housing was denied to them, and seating in many hotels and
restaurants was refused.
In 1957, Dr. King founded the Southern Christian
方基督教领导会议）and moved back to his home town
of Atlanta, Georgia. This was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement（民权运动）. In the years
following, he continued to organize non-violent protests against unequal
treatment of African-American people. His philosophy remained peaceful,
and he constantly reminded his followers that their fight would be
victorious if they did not resort to bloodshed（流血）. Nonetheless（尽管如此）, he and his demonstrators were
often threatened and attacked. Demonstrations which began peacefully often
ended up in violence, and he and many others were often arrested.
On August 23, 1963, a crowd of more than 250,000 people gathered in
Washington, D.C. and marched to the Capitol
Building（国会大厦）to support the passing of laws that guaranteed every
American equal civil rights. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was at the front
of the "March on Washington." On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial（林肯纪念堂）that day, Dr. King delivered
a speech that was later entitled "I Have a Dream." The March was one of
the largest gatherings of black and white people that the nation's capital
had ever seen... and no violence occurred.
One year later, the Civil Rights
Act（民权法案）of 1964 was passed. It was not the first law of civil
rights for Americans, but it was the most thorough and effective. The act
guaranteed equal rights in housing, public facilities, voting and public
schools. Everyone would have impartial hearings（申诉的机会）and jury trials. A civil rights
commission would ensure that these laws were enforced. Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. and thousands of others now knew that they had not struggled
in vain（徒劳）. In the same year Dr. King won
the Nobel Peace Prize for leading non-violent demonstrations.
In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while he was
leading a workers' strike in Memphis, Tennessee. White people and black
people who had worked so hard for peace and civil rights were shocked and
angry. The world grieved the loss of this man of peace.
The Making of a Holiday
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death did not slow the Civil Rights
Movement. Black and white people continued to fight for freedom and
equality. Coretta Scott King is the widow of the civil rights leader. In
1970, she established the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in
Atlanta, Georgia. This "living memorial" consists of his boyhood home and
the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King is buried.
On Monday, January 20, 1986, in cities and towns across the country
people celebrated the first official Martin Luther King Day, the only
federal holiday commemorating an African-American. A ceremony which took
place at an old railroad depot（铁路仓储）in
Atlanta Georgia was especially emotional. Hundreds had gathered to sing
and to march. Many were the same people who, in 1965, had marched for
fifty miles between two cities in the state of Alabama to protest
segregation and discrimination of black Americans.
All through the 1980's, controversy surrounded the idea of a Martin
Luther King Day. Congressmen and citizens had petitioned（请求）the President to make January 15, Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, a federal holiday. Others wanted to
make the holiday on the day he died, while some people did not want to
have any holiday at all.
January 15 had been observed as a public holiday for many years in 27
states and Washington, D.C. Finally, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan
declared the third Monday in January a federal legal holiday commemorating
Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday.
Schools, offices and federal agencies are closed for the holiday. On
Monday there are quiet memorial services as well as elaborate ceremonies
in honor of Dr. King. On the preceding Sunday, ministers of all religions
give special sermons（布道）reminding everyone of
Dr. King's lifelong work for peace. All weekend, popular radio stations
play songs and speeches that tell the history of the Civil Rights
Movement. Television channels broadcast special programs with filmed
highlights of Dr. King's life and