Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first recognized by law by Ronald Reagan in 1983. But it wasn’t until 1986 that it became a full federal holiday, and 2000 before it was recognized by all 50 states. An American Baptist minister, King became the most visible leader of the civil rights movement based on a philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience. He was at the forefront of establishing the Montgomery Bus Boycott and creating the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. He is perhaps most remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. His legacy is visible near the location of that speech, in the form of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and in Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia, which contains both his boyhood home and his crypt. But there are many other places that further honor that legacy, and here are some of our favorites.
Far from American soil, in Amsterdam, there is a solemn King statue in a park that bears his name. In New Orleans there is a historic restaurant that played a key role in his story, as a secret meeting location for King and the Freedom Riders. From the steps where King was arrested while having lunch to the radio station where he held a few Sunday services, here are seven places that keep the dream alive.