Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 84 years old today — he was born January 15th, 1929.

After being arrested during one of the peaceful protests he championed, using the margins of the newspaper and toilet paper and a pencil, King laid out the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” one of the most famous documents from the civil rights era. In it, he wrote:

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. […] For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piecing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’"

Learn more about King’s life and work in How the Civil Rights Movement Worked.