The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired us to rise up against racial injustice more than 60 years ago, helping spark a civil rights movement that is still in motion today.
Highlighting that the movement is an ongoing process — and not a moment relegated to history — is the goal of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Google Doodle honoring the civil rights pioneer. The Doodle depicts the arc of the movement as it continues to move forward.
Born Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, King began preaching as a Baptist minister in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1954. His message of nonviolent civil disobedience and love, delivered through powerful speeches and writings, shaped the character of the movement.
He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott against the policy of racial segregation in the Alabama city’s public transit system. In 1963, he delivered his iconic I Have a Dream speech, calling for an end to racism, during the March on Washington.
Monday’s Doodle was created by Brooklyn, New York-based guest artist Olivia Fields, who said her life has been shaped by the activism of the past and continued to be formed by the ongoing movement. She said that in creating the Doodle, she drew inspiration from a famous King quote reflecting his ever-optimistic view regarding how long it would take to see social justice: “How long? Not long because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. How long? Not long,” he said as part of a speech upon completing the Selma-to-Montgomery march in Alabama on March 25, 1965.
“I decided to focus on the visual of an arc to establish the movement in the piece,” Fields told Google. “Although it is future-focused, I hope people consider the importance of the connection, especially in this present moment.
“It goes without saying how important (and essential) support is,” she said.
The real anniversary of King’s birthday was Saturday, but a federal holiday signed into law in 1983 sets aside the third Monday of each January to observe his birthday. The holiday is typically marked each year in communities across the US by marches, speeches, lectures and musical programs highlighting King’s leadership.