Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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January 15th
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.
The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., born January 15, 1929, was one of the most gifted leaders the country has known. Never was that more evident than on a cold winter night in 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. King had left his wife and baby at home to attend a meeting at a nearby church. As the meeting wound down, someone rushed in with terrible news: “Your house has been bombed.”

King raced home and saw that the bomb had exploded on his front porch. By now the house was full of people. He pushed his way inside and found his family safe.

Outside, however, trouble was stirring. An angry crowd was gathering and wanted revenge against whoever had done this. Several people carried guns and broken bottles. They hurled insults at arriving policemen. The situation was about to spin out of control. That’s when King stepped onto his porch.

Silence fell over the crowd.

King told them in a calm voice that his family was all right. “I want you to go home and put down your weapons,” he said. He told them violence would not solve their problems; it would only harm their cause. He reminded them of the teachings of the Bible: “We must meet hate with love.”

Then something remarkable happened. “Amen,” someone said. “God bless you,” others called. The crowd, which a moment ago had been on the verge of violence, began to drift apart. A night that had been heading toward chaos came to a quiet, if uneasy, close.

Dr. King spent his life meeting adversity with courage and love and reminding his fellow Americans that “we must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” Good words to remember on this day.

American History Parade
1844
The University of Notre Dame receives its charter from the Indiana legislature.

1892
The rules of basketball are first published in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1967
In Los Angeles, the Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35–10 in the first Super Bowl.

1929
Martin Luther King Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia.

2006
Stardust, a NASA spacecraft, returns to Earth with the first dust ever retrieved from a comet.

2009
A US Airways jet piloted by Captain “Sully” Sullenberger makes a successful emergency landing on the Hudson River after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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