“We honor this man –- because he had faith in us,” said President Obama at the opening of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication in Washington D.C. on October 16, 2011.
“That is why he belongs on this Mall -– Because he saw what we might become.”
Stevie Wonder released the song “Happy Birthday” in 1981 in support of making Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday.
“I just never understood, how a man who died for good/could not have a day that would be set aside for his recognition,” sings Wonder.
“I think it is really important for us to learn our history as a nation. I think a lot of us have really learned a history that is single-sided.” —Kerry Washington
“The fact that he was a hero to me and that I knew then and know even more every day that people live in direct relation to the heroes and sheroes. The fact that he was of such importance to my country, to my people, all those facts must take backstage to the truth that he was killed on my birthday. That my friend was killed on my birthday. It becomes a very personal loss. I [still] find myself unable to celebrate my birthday. I have taken his assassination personal. And my life will forever be changed.” —Maya Angelou
In 2001, Jeffrey Wright got the role on the top of most actors’ wish lists and played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the HBO movie “Boycott.”
The actor remembered Dr. King by reading his powerful “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in New York City (the same place where Dr. King read the speech in 1967).
“Dr. Martin Luther King is not a Black hero. He is an American hero. The world needs his message today more than ever before.” —Morgan Freeman
“He was a great practical joker in private life. He cracked jokes all day, laughing, talking about his father.” —Jesse Jackson
“I think he’s inspired the whole country and the world. The themes and the ideas of his movement have inspired many other movements subsequently to achieve revolutionary things through non-violence. And I think even looking at President Barack’s rise, it’s part of that fulfillment of what Dr. King dreamed about and worked for.” —John Legend
“Growing up, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the one photograph that every Black household had. There were little placards made out of metal stuck against the wall. You followed him because he was holding your hope. The hope that you were going to be able to live your life full with equality.” —Forest Whitaker
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the vocalist, the ambassador to our mindset as a community.” —Chrisette Michele
“The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. will remind people that an individual can change the course of history worldwide.” —Alfre Woodard
“When I think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the words ‘Ambassador For Peace’ come to mind because it was through peace that he accomplished so much. He showed people that love — not violence — is the best weapon against haters.” —Keke Palmer
On her “Congo Square” album released in 2009, Miss Tee (R.I.P.) delivered a beautiful ballad in honor of Dr. King’s wife called “Ms. Coretta.”
“Even today when I hear the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech for the 5 millionth time with that voice, with that candle and the rhythm and the pace. I put it on the par with Lincoln’s great speech. I think it’s one of the great speeches in American history.” —Harry Belafonte
Bono and his band U2 honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the song “Pride (In the Name of Love)” in 1984.
“Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/They could not take your pride.” —Bono