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Honoring the Dream

January 21, 2019

Each year, we join others across the nation in celebration of the remarkable life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Paine College, Augusta Technical College, and Augusta University take turns hosting the Tri-College Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, on a rotating basis. This year, the celebration was hosted by Augusta University. Our three colleges had another successful event to honor this great American who helped bring positive change to our world.

Dr. King is, without question, one of the most well-known historical figures in United States history, having spent his life working for true positive change in the United States. As both a Baptist minister and social activist, King was devoted to the most fundamental principles of the American experience: equality, civil rights, human rights, and justice throughout the mid-1950s and 1960s.

His focus on societal change through peaceful protest helped to change minds and win hearts. He remains one of the most recognizable civil rights leaders in American history. His leadership charted a path toward achieving the dream of true civil rights and led to change not only in the segregated South but across all of America. King's efforts involved traveling more than an estimated six million miles. He spoke publicly more than 2500 times and was a prominent presence at virtually every event where injustices needed redress. He also penned five books and many articles, always calling his listeners to strive for a more just society with true equality for all. His civil rights efforts are now legendary. When Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, Dr. King was asked by activists to lead the protest that is now known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Less than a year later, the Supreme Court declared segregated bus seating unconstitutional. After his 1963 arrest during a nonviolent protest of segregation in Birmingham Alabama, King penned his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in response to some white clergy who disapproved of his civil disobedience.

Dr. King would go on to help organize the March on Washington in August of that year, a rally that helped elevate the cause of civil rights to national prominence. Today, that March is widely credited with helping to pave the way toward passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also served as the setting for an address from King that still resonates a half a century after his death by assassination: the now-famous "I Have a Dream" speech that eloquently envisioned a world of peace, equality, and true racial harmony.

The 2019 Tri-College Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration featured keynote speaker Monti Washington, who is widely regarded as "America's Adversity Coach." Monti is an award-winning poet and playwright, actor, and co-founder of the non-profit which works to inspire young people. To many, however, he is perhaps best known for his inspirational and motivational approach to helping students overcome adversity and achieve real life success.

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