Today celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. While we know of him as a civil rights leader, he was more than that. Dr. King, and many others who worked with him to lead the transformation of this country towards a place where the words ‘and liberty and justice for all’ really did apply to everyone. Before the modern civil rights movement much of this country was rigidly segregated. The south was a virtual police state, its Black citizens were barred from access to schools, most good jobs, and almost never allowed to vote. This system was enforced by terror, at gunpoint, thousands were killed every year across the south for asking for basic rights, others were fired from their jobs, kicked out of housing, forced to leave their homes. Southern police and courts denied Black citizens the most basic fair treatment and rule of law protections. The modern civil rights movement fought for, and largely succeeded in changing laws to allow Black citizens to have the most basic rights, including the right to vote, and, to enjoy the most basic legal protections. Dr. King, and other civil rights leaders and activists deserve as much credit as anyone for advancing freedom in this country. We have a long way to go to become a society where all people are treated equally based on their race, but, without Dr. King and his colleagues we would be nowhere near freedom.