Martin Luther King, the American clergyman, activist and leader of the African American civil rights movement who was assassinated in 1968, is being remembered across the United States today (17th January 2011) as the nation celebrates 'Martin Luther King Day', reports CNN. King was regarded as an iconic figure in the development of civil rights in the US and around the world and today marks the 25th anniversary with a holiday in his honour.
A number of events to commemorate King's legacy are set to get underway throughout the day and President Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama are planning to participate in a service project in Washington. In a statement made this morning, President Obama paid tribute to the 'selfless' King, saying, "Martin Luther King, Jr. lived his life for others, dedicating his work to ensuring equal opportunity, freedom, and justice for all", adding, "I encourage every American to observe this holiday in honor of Dr. King's selfless legacy by volunteering in their own communities and by dedicating time each day to bettering the lives of those around us". On March 29th 1968, King was assassinated by JAMES EARL RAY as he stood on the balcony of his Memphis motel room. Despite emergency chest surgery, the 39-year-old was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting.
It was reported last week that acclaimed film director Paul Greengrass has written a movie script about the events leading up to King's assassination. According to the Los Angeles Times, the film would be a 'human portrayal' exploring King's personal life, his faltering marriage and his cigarette and alcohol problem.