Archived: SLIDESHOW: Living Through the Words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year, perhaps more than ever, civil rights are at the forefront on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

St. Louis, so close to the protests and ongoing civil-rights investigation in Ferguson, was one of the first cities to honor Dr. King’s life by establishing a holiday to celebrate his legacy, first observed in 1971.

Fifteen years later, on Nov. 2, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was moved to the third Monday in January by proclamation in 1992, but it wasn’t until Jan. 17, 2000, that it was observed in all 50 states. (Arizona [1992], New Hampshire [1999] and Utah [2000] were the last states to recognize the holiday).

Dr. King would be 86 years old now, and one can only imagine the powerful words he would deliver to protesters in New York and Ferguson. Those historical quotes—the strength and courage that changed a nation once — still carry weight today.

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