Although we will celebrate his birthday next Monday as a legal holiday, it was tomorrow (the 15th) back in 1929 that an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr was born. So much has been written about this great man, even here in this place, but I wanted to acknowledge his birthday and also tell you that Michael was actually his birth name. Perhaps that is one reason why I have always felt a closeness.
We know him as a "junior," so it is important to point out the indeed his father was also born Michael King. After a trip to Germany in 1934 for the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin, the elder King decided he wanted to be called Martin Luther King in honor of the German reformer Martin Luther. He then changed both his, and his son's names.
The leadership of King, Jr - particularly in the area of nonviolent protest for basic human rights, will never be forgotten. Instead of just one day a year, I think we should remember him much more for indeed he did change the world. Today, and in the days ahead through next week's holiday, I urge you to find out more about The Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr and what we can all do to keep his legacy alive.