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Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated every January in the United States to commemorate the birthday of this important African American civil rights leader. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating segregation and Jim Crow laws in the 1950s and 60s. 

Dr. King organized some of the most pivotal civil rights protests of that era. He was involved in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott started by Rosa Parks, which eventually led to a court ruling that racial segragation on public transportation was illegal. He delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington that was attended by over 200,000 people.

This protest led to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, two seminal pieces of civil rights legislation. These acts prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, and national origin and remove barriers to voting that were used to disenfranchise African Americans.

Dr. King's message of promoting racial equality and combating discrimination still rings true today. Commemorate this important civil rights leader with Science NetLinks' lessons on race and inequality, like Race and Genes (9–12), The Illusion of Race (6–8), and Social Class, Social Change, and Poverty (9–12). Our Spotlight on African American Scientists collection of Science Update podcasts and African Americans in Science (6–8) lesson introduce some leading African American innovators in STEM.

Image credit: US Library of Congress