Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929 In Atlanta Georgia.
The pacifistic preacher would have been 86 today, if he had not been assassinated in Memphis, where he had spoken out for striking black teamsters at the Mason Temple.
His prophetic words survive today.
"And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. 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 He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. 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."
After his death Michigan congressman John Conyers and Senator Edward Brooke introduced a bill to make King's birthday a national holiday. Congress failed to pass the bill with opponents stating another federal holiday was too expensive and honoring a private citizen would set a bad precedent. This opposition was led by Jesse Helms, who had accused King of being a Marxist, however The King Center organized support for the bill and President Reagan signed it on November 2, 1983 with Coretta King in attendance.
Arizona resisted the holiday with Sen. John McCain finally yielding to pressure, however the state fought off King Day with 76% of voters in a referendum rejecting the holiday. The NFL cancelled the Super Bowl scheduled for Phoenix and when the state was faced with similar boycotts Arizona passing a holiday honoring the Civil rights leader.
New Hampshire fell next and finally South Carolina, which had offered public employees the choice of taking off Martin Luther King Day or three days honoring the Confederacy.
Most businesses are closed in New York, but not 47th Street.
Like always the Diamond District was ready for business, because the greatest right on the street was 'nimmt geld' or take money.
Me, I'm writing at home.
Drinking tea and having toast.
It's my way of honoring a great man.
Martin Luther King JR.