Martin Luther King Day: 25 people who paved the way for MLK

“From the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in 1964. “Every time I take flight I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible, the known pilots and unknown ground crew.”

theGrio: Stevie Wonder, black radio, and the fight for a MLK holiday

In this list of 25 people who paved the way for MLK there are familiar and unfamiliar names but all contributed in great and small ways to the creation of a better nation and world. Even as our country seems marred in dissension, the King Holiday should serve as a powerful reminder that we all count.