"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I believe that we shall overcome."  -  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"As a nation chooses its heroes and heroines, a nation interprets its history and shapes its destiny. The commemoration of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. can help America realize its true destiny as the global model for democracy, economic and social justice, and as the first nonviolent society in human history."  -  Mrs. Coretta Scott King

The Empire State is pleased to announce that the 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance will highlight milestones in the life of Dr. King, Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement and The King Center in Atlanta. Dr. King was a vital figure of the modern era. His lectures and dialogues stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation. The movements and marches he led brought significant changes in the fabric of American life through his courage and selfless devotion. This devotion gave direction to thirteen years of civil rights activities. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.

The continued goal is to make Dr. King's birthday an affirmation of nonviolent education, community service, diversity and national healing. Here are some important facts about Dr. King that continue to inspire new generations today.

  • Dr. King skipped two grades in high school, 9th and 11th, and entered college (Morehouse College) at the tender age of 15 in 1944. By 19, he received a bachelor's degree in sociology.

  • When Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, at the time he was the youngest Peace Prize winner ever, at the age of 35. Currently, Tawakkol Karman of Yemen is the youngest winner on record; she was 32 when she won the prize in 2011. His acceptance speech in Norway included the famous statement, "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant."

  • On February 21, 1956, Dr. King is indicted, along with twenty-four other ministers and more than one hundred blacks, for conspiring to prevent the Montgomery bus company from operation of business. A United States District Court rules on June 4 that racial segregation on Alabama's city bus lines is unconstitutional. On November 13, the United States Supreme Court unanimously upholds the decision. On December 21, blacks and whites in Montgomery ride for the first time on previously segregated buses.

  • Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Ghandi, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the 1950's and 60's to achieve legal equality for African Americans in the United States.