Sol-Amari Saunders, right, 7, of  Manhattan, joins a march and rally in honor of Dr. Martin Luther  King Jr., Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 in New York. Manhattan Country School 8th graders honored the legacy of King, by taking to the streets of Harlem to speak out about what they consider to be the most pressing civil rights issues of their generation.  Mary Altaffer/AP

One of the most notable aspects of President Obama’s last State of the Union Address was his “clear-eyed, big-hearted” optimism. Despite his lament about the bleakness of inter and intra party feuds, the President was firm on his stance that America is an enduring force for good. Perhaps what was most fitting about the president’s words was his invocation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who would have turned 87 this 15th of January. Obama declared:

. . . our brand of democracy is hard. But I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I'll be right there with you as a citizen — inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far. Voices that help us see ourselves not first and foremost as black or white or Asian or Latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born; not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans first, bound by a common creed. Voices Dr. King believed would have the final word — voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love.

Next America compiled images that depict a reflection of Dr. King’s life and how his message of love and nonviolence persists today among those he unforgettably evoked during his “I Have a Dream” speech--American children.

Children gather along side important figures like Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, on MLK Day in Washington. Also attending were DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, center, with Harry Johnson, President and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A young marcher carries a sign during the 30th annual Marade to honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Jahnae Everett, 10, carries the American flag as she and a group of "Major Pain's Kids," a program for at-risk youth, prepare to march in a parade honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
The Goddard Child Development Center entertains at the Goddard Space Flight Center annual Martin Luther King, Jr. and African American History Month celebration. (Flickr/NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk )
A young protestor holds a sign at a rally held in front of the White House on MLK day for the Coalition Against Police Violence. (Flickr/ Elvert Barnes)
At Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Mo. children sing during a service about Martin Luther King Jr,. as well as their desire to reform police procedures after the death of Michael Brown. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Two young protestors hold signs in front of the White House at the Coalition Against Police Violence on MLK DAY. (Flickr/ Elvert Barnes )
Sol-Amari Saunders, right, 7, of Manhattan, joins a march and rally in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in New York. Manhattan Country School 8th graders honored the legacy of King, by taking to the streets of Harlem to speak out about what they consider to be the most pressing civil rights issues of their generation. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Dr. King’s words resonate loudly nearly half a century after his death as men, women, and children across the world remember his legacy and, more importantly, build on his dream.

This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.

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