Martin Luther King Jr. Inspirations From The Black Community

American Civil Rights and religious leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) gestures emphatically during a speech at a
American Civil Rights and religious leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) gestures emphatically during a speech at a Chicago Freedom Movement rally in Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, July 10, 1966. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

Why do we have Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

In the spirit of remembering one of the most famous Civil Rights Movement heroes of all time, we asked the Black Voices community how MLK has inspired them -- to which there was no shortage of heartening responses.

We asked for your thoughts, feelings and opinions on the iconic figure of MLK:

Martin Luther King Jr. left a mountain of lessons in his legacy. We want to know how Dr. King has inspired you -- as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sister and brothers, friends and citizens. Tell us how MLK changed your life and why!

Here are some of the responses we received that prove MLK's inspirational legacy is as strong as ever in 2015.

“No one can ride you if your back is straight. Happy birthday Doc!” -- Tim Randall

“If you're gonna dream, be bold, speak loudly, clearly, intelligently, with soul force, for the highest good!” -- Noam Winter

“Hope. He gives me hope for the future. If a man can take a stand on so simple a principal there is hope for the men and women today. Stand when there is no one with you; Stand when all you have is a principal. But take a stand and defend it by any means necessary.” -- Ernie Middleton

“The biggest lesson I gleaned from Dr. King is the value of service. At its best it requires sacrifice and courage.” -- Pat J. Lissade

“Dr. King's legacy has challenge me to raise my sons to look at the person and not the color of their skin. We all are created in the image of God and therefore we all are the one.” -- Kimberley Lindeman Kenny

“I too have a dream” -- Joe Crews

“I grew up in a small, all-white town. When I was in elementary school, I read all the time, everything I could get my hands on. At some point I came across the "I Have a Dream" speech. I remember clearly how I felt when I read it: it gave me goosebumps, and it made me deeply sad, and although I didn't understand racism on a deep level at that age, it resonated with me. It inspired me. I tore it out of the book, hung it next to my bed, and memorized it.” -- Amy Lynn Miller

“He changed my life while growing up in the Caribbean. Listening to any of his speeches and to his powerful voice gives me the inner strength to deal with adversity and to push for positive change, but most of all empathy for all people-- in all walks of life. May his voice and message of peace echo throughout time forever.” -- Jason Budsan

“His views on loving your fellow man rings loudly in my ears daily.” -- James Gladden

“He inspired me to serve others!” -- Charmaine Yates

“I will not miss a voting opportunity” -- Carlita R. Grazier

“He pioneered the civil rights movement for me and my Latino brothers and sisters... I will forever be grateful.” -- Matha Lugo

“Taught me that you can be a man with flaws, and still have dreams. Inspite of severe obstacles privately and publically, he obtained leadership that helped change generations, and generations to come. #Salute MLK” -- Gregory O’Neil II

“If it weren't for Dr. King, I wouldn't have my family. My African American son, Tyler, was adopted at 13 days of age, and my wonderful granddaughter. I'm irish and Tuscarora.” - Denise Boyle

“In 1986 I was a freshmen at Norfolk State University. I was also a barber apprentice at Kappatal Cuts Barbershop. The man who's barber chair I first began cutting hair in had crazy stuff left in his station. He had passed a year earlier. One day I cleaned out the station and found a Jet Magazine Dated on the Year Day and Month that I was born. 10/24/1968... On the cover of that magazine was Dr King. He was a "HISTORICAL" figure in my mind to that point, but when I did the math, I realized that I was in the womb when he was assassinated. I know that maybe silly but that connection made me read and research more about him and who he was, how his words where about children and people like me.” -- Kevo Desh

Some responses have been edited for clarity.