Who is Martin Luther King Jr?

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Wait a second, another street named after Martin Luther King Jr.? Why are there multiple road ways named after this man?

There I was driving south of highway 95 in Las Vegas, it was a beautiful day and I took an exit to get onto the 215 headed toward the Las Vegas International Airport. I see the exit for Martin Luther King Blvd. and I think nothing of it as I have made this drive plenty of times to pick up students. Once I had a bus filled with excited students and Military Working Dogs, I headed back to the base. At this time of the day, traffic was ridiculous. As I sat in traffic I looked ahead and noticed I was at the Martin Luther King Blvd exit again. That’s when I had a thought, why does every state have a road way named after this man? Traffic began to move and the thought left my mind.

We all know who Martin Luther King Jr. is, right? But I asked myself, what do I know about this man? I know he is a Baptist minister who led the peaceful civil rights protests in the 60’s. I also know he was married and later, assassinated. Could it be that this is all I know about this great legend whose legacy is still making headway today? That inspired me to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. after I had a great leader tell me “We stand on the shoulders of giants” (Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland).

After going through many sources I focused on details that I felt most people do not know. Martin Luther King Jr. was actually born Michael and his father later changed his name. Martin excelled in school and started college at only 15 years old. He eventually earned a doctorate which is why doctor proceeds his name. He has even won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Many may know he is a minister, the beginning of his infamous journey began when he was recruited by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in order to help promote the bus boycotts in Montgomery, Alabama. This was a 381 day boycott of segregated buses. People were dedicated to this cause, they walked miles and miles to get to work. He used love, peace and “the power of words” to protest.

Even though the bus boycott is where he started his voyage, the march on Washington, which supported jobs and freedom was how he was most famously remembered. That is where the infamous “I have a dream” speech was made.

Martin Luther King Jr. was shot at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee on his way to dinner. There was an open casket funeral in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Whoever said patience is a virtue was right. It took 15 years to see a day dedicated in his honor. He was the first non-United States President to get a federal holiday named after him.
To answer my first question, why are there multiple road ways named after this man? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and he encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live—creating the "Beloved Community".

For more information on Martin Luther King Jr. please visit the Equal Opportunity SharePoint site at https://dm.eim.acc.hedc.af.mil/355FW/EO/Lists/Announcements/AllItems.aspx or contact the Equal Opportunity office at 228-5509.