Martin Luther King Jr was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta Georgia. He was a Baptist minister and social activist that believes in equality for all Americans. He was born under the name Michael Luther King Jr but later had his name changed to Martin. His family stemmed from a long line of pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church including his grandfather and father. While Martin’s father was serving, Martin was considered the co-pastor. Martin was a very intelligent young man who had skipped 2 grades and graduated high school at the age of fifteen. He then received a degree in sociology in 1948 from Morehouse College, from which his grandfather had graduated from. After 3 years studying divinity at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, he was elected president and graduated from a predominantly white class in 1951. At this time, Martin was an active citizen in the civil rights movements and wanted equality for all Americans. He then attended the University of Boston to complete his residence to obtain his doctorate in theology. While he was in Boston, he met and married Coretta Scott and eventually had 2 sons and 2 daughters. In 1954, Martin became a pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He was always involved in civil rights for members of his race and was soon selected to become a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. In early December 1955, Martin Luther King Jr was chosen to lead the bus boycott, which lasted 382 days. After this event occurred, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the unconstitutional laws that require segregation on buses, so now everyone is equal. This was a very important time for Martin as he was arrested, his house was bombed, he was subjected to abuse but through all of this he stayed true to his desires and emerged as the Negro leader of the highest rank. In 1963, Martin Luther King directed a peaceful march in Washington D.C for 250,000 people. While he was there, he delivered one of his most known speeches, “I Have A Dream.” Soon after in 1964, Martin Luther King was deemed the youngest man to have received a Nobel Peace Prize. He received this prize for his bravery in leading his non-violent protests pertaining to racial prejudice in America. While leading another protest in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968, for striking garbage workers, he was assassinated while standing on the balcony of his hotel room. Even though Martin has passed, his legacy and morals linger within all Americans to strive for racial equality.
Martin has been an active citizen in the civil rights movements in America during the 1900’s to strive for racial equality. However, he dedicated his life after Rosa Parks, a 42 year old African-American, experienced such discrimination on a public bus. This took place in 1955 when she boarded a public city bus to go home from work. She sat near the middle of the bus, just behind the section reserved for white individuals. When the seats were filled, more white men entered the bus and the African-American people were asked to move. Rosa Parks decided not to obey the law of segregation and stayed in her seat. At this time, she was arrested and convicted of breaking the laws of segregation put in place by the American government. This event was Martin’s calling to action. Even though he was involved in civil rights before hand, he know dedicated his life to obtaining racial equality for all in America. After Rosa Parks was arrested, Martin Luther King Jr was chosen to lead the bus boycott, which led all African American people not to ride the city buses. This incident was also the beginning of all Martin Luther King Jr’s non-violent protests. The occurrence of the African-Americans not riding the bus also had a serious impact on the economy because they took up 75% of the people who used the bus routes. The boycott took up 382 days and the American government declared equality only in transportation such as, trains and buses. From this point on, Martin Luther King Jr dedicated his life to serving his people to get what they all deserve, equality.
In taking on his calling, Martin Luther King Jr experienced a complete upheaval of his life. He was arrested, his house was bombed, and he was subjected to personal abuse in the streets. Martin needed to have people around him while he was in the streets or he would have been assassinated, which eventually happened. In order to pursue his dream and make a difference he had to give up being a minister at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. After his death in 1968, U.S president Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday honouring the work of Martin Luther King Jr. It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986 which is close to his birthdate. In all, Martin Luther King was a strong man and never tired in his effort to achieve racial equality even with all the turmoil he experienced.
Time of Crisis
Martin Luther King Jr found his calling during the time of the civil rights movements in America. The African-American population was not being treated fairly by the American government and they decided to rebel. Some of the most influential people included, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Andrew Goodman. These people risked their lives to support and achieve what their people deserved and protested for. These individuals did not have full citizenship rights and had a struggle for freedom and with slavery. When the African-American population came together, leaders like Martin Luther King Jr lead non-violent protests to try and achieve what they deserve as American citizens. Some paid with the cost of their lives to strive for racial equality for all citizens in America. As you may know, change was made by these protests and many people have dedicated their lives to keep the racial equality in all towns and communities. Martin Luther King Jr wisdom and desire to achieve racial equality echos in many global communities today.
Martin Luther King spent most of his adult life leading marches and speaking to the public. One of his most famous speeches is, “I Have a Dream” presented in 1963 in front of 250, 000 people. One of the most famous lines were, “I have a dream, that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” We learn that he wanted the next generation of children to grow up with equality and no discrimination between the colour of your skin. Martin Luther King Jr was a very well spoken man as he had the courage to speak in front of large crowds several times to educate people on the issues he was very passionate towards. He presents God’s message as simple as through the golden rule, “treat others as you would like to be treated.” He speaks for equality and tries to make the government officials understand that they would not like to be treated like the African-American population. His messages have worked and penetrated the minds of Americans because they now have the first African-American president serving their country, Barack Obama.
Martin Luther King Jr was honoured by the U.S government by having a federal holiday on January 20th every year. You can take time on this day to honour and recognize Martin Luther King Jr’s hard work and dedication to his people. Also, you can get involved in civil rights by educating the public on what it is that you believe in. You may gain insight and understanding of such a wonderful cause by visiting websites as http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.htmland #BookItForward. Finally, you can join local clubs that believe in equality and acceptance just like the one we have here at St. Peters called H.E.R.O.