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Lessons From Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy, as Told by Google Doodle Artists What does this day mean to you?

By Nina Zipkin

Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

Today marks what would have been Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's 89th birthday. King was a tireless crusader for equality and opportunity, a determined organizer and a skilled and inspiring orator. Since 1983, we've taken today to remember him, his family and his collaborators contributions to American history as the fight for justice continues.

In recent years, Google has paid tribute to the Nobel Peace Prize winner on this day with an inventive Google Doodle. Check out what the artists had to say about their work and what we can all learn from from King's legacy.

Related: Slideshow: Inspiring Words From the March on Washington


Lesson: You can't do anything worthwhile alone.

Artist: Cannaday Chapman

Inspiration: "I was inspired by people. It may appear that this movement or any civil rights movement was brought about by one person, but it's the people that have the power to bring change. I wanted to make an image about those people," Chapman told Google.


Lesson: Unity is required to move forward.

Artist: Keith Mallett

Inspiration: "All life is interrelated," Mallett told Google. "We are all made to live together."


Lesson: Don't be afraid to leap.

Artist: Richie Pope

Inspiration: Pope told Google that he drew inspiration from King's quote -- "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."


Lesson: We don't succeed without understanding and building on the work that came before.

Artist: Ekua Holmes

Inspiration: "I chose to illustrate his successful march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge because it captured the strength of spirit and leadership of the man. It also acknowledges those who marched and put their lives on the line with him," Holmes told Google. "The linked arms and rhythm of the hands hopefully convey a message of collaboration, strength, unity and determined action. This movement of hearts and minds led to great changes in America and around the world. As we face the complex social and racial challenges of today, we should look to this legacy for encouragement, strength, strategy and inspiration."


Lesson: Always endeavor for clarity of purpose.

Artist: Matthew Cruickshank

Inspiration: ""Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.' With this MLK quote in mind I set out to visually find a way to capture light. I also wanted to try a fresh approach to a portrait. I had some initial sketches in my sketchbook along with studies of a girl 'thinking' whilst working in an internet cafe. Her hand gestures were going to link to MLK in a thoughtful pose, although ultimately I felt the hand wasn't needed," Cruikshank wrote of his process.


Lesson: Everyone brings their own unique and valuable perspective to the table.

Artist: Jennifer Hom

Inspiration: "Dr. Martin Luther King, one of the most significant figures for equal rights in America, envisioned a day where children will "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.' This famous line from his address at the Lincoln Memorial was the spark that inspired this year's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday," Hom wrote of her process.


Lesson: You cannot achieve any goal without belief and commitment.

Artist: Jennifer Hom

Lesson: "My first year celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, I wanted to depict the steadfastness of his approach to civil rights. Marching arm-in-arm with fellow Americans, Dr. King's acts of civil disobedience made him a symbol for equality," Hom wrote.
Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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