Martin Luther King is a well known, inspiring man, to all cultures of the world. King was and still is one of the most influential heroes. King’s views and beliefs, which were similar to the non-violent ideas of Gandhi, helped African Americans through the 50′s and 60′s obtain the rights and liberties that was their birth right. King faced many obstacles on his quest like jail and even assassination attempts. Despite these obstacles, he became a successful leader during the Civil Rights Movement, and even after his death, by guiding African Americans in a non-violent and positive direction for the fight to secure rights and equality. These reasons make Martin Luther King worthy enough of the title “hero.”
Martin Luther King was born on January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.(Martin Luther King, Jr. Chronology) Michael Luther King was King’s original named before he had it changed. King was a well-educated man who went to high school in Georgia and attended More house College, at the age of 15. He later continued his studies at Boston University, receiving his doctoral degree in Philosophy in Systematic Theology. While in Boston he met the woman that he would marry, Coretta Scott. King’s unrelenting and effective leadership role and his success in the protest for desegregation of buses, made him one of the prime leaders of the civil rights movement. King also led one of the biggest, peaceful, marches in Washington, D.C.. About a quarter of a million people, of all races, joined this march, along with many musicians and artists. This was also where King’s “I Have A Dream” speech was delivered. King was the youngest man, at the age of thirty five, to win the Noble Peace Prize. King also wrote five books and he wrote many articles.(Martin Luther King – Biography) King’s leadership was tragically ended when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on a motel balcony. King was only thirty-nine, and his assassin was never found.
To obtain rights and liberties for African Americans, many actions must be taken. A leader must take responsibility and lead a nation of people to a successful victory. King did just that. King formed many groups and became president of others. Groups such as National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and many other groups that had relationships with those groups.( The Auto Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 380) When Rosa Parks was arrested because of the segregation of buses in Montgomery, Alabama, one of King’s groups which he was a member, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), united with many other groups to help with the boycott of the buses.
King became the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). His speeches and enthusiasm helped the members continue the boycott. The boycott was successful, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favour of King’s people and demanded the desegregation of buses in all of the United States. (The Auto Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 48) The Montgomery Improvement Association was later known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which helped the Civil Rights Movement by supporting many events like voter registration drives and sit-ins. King worked with a group called the “Freedom Riders” to help them desegregate interstate travel. When a bombing in a Birmingham Church killed innocent black children, King decided to step in and he helped to desegregate almost every area in Birmingham that was segregated.(The Auto Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. chap.17) Since the Civil Rights Movement was making progress, King decided to hold a march in the nation’s capital. This was known as one of the largest, non-violent protests in history. 250,000 people of all races, many of whom where musicians and actors joined the march for a civil right’s act. Later that year the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 takes effect.(The Auto Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. chap.20)
This act was supported by President Kennedy, but was not being pushed in Congress which delayed its signing. King protested in Selma, Alabama and along with the help of President Johnson, helped create a voting rights bill for African Americans which was passed in 1965.(The Auto Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. chap.26)
King did not always succeed in all his activities. Some either failed or were not continued. Some other activities turned violent. During the Civil Rights Movement era, King received a lot of support for other African American groups, people, and Presidents of the United States. He also received a lot of negative responses, including violent attacks and dislike by other African American groups, extremist groups, and government officials. He also faced many oppositions like the Ku Klux Klan and the police forces of the cities he protested in. He was jailed in Alabama because he was demonstrating without a permit.(The Auto Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 114) He was also detained when taking part in a sit-in. King was under a huge amount of surveillance from the FBI. Though he had come to failure in some of his activities and protest, King was able to still help and reach out to people like no other leader of the Civil Rights Movement. King used his failures to learn something new and to help him achieve something greater. He risked his life to give speeches to encourage African Americans, to participate in marches
to help create peaceful resolutions, and participate in sit-ins on busses and in restaurants. ” If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”(Martin Luther King, Jr., Quotations)
As a nation, Martin Luther King has achieved what he had set out to achieve. Today in America we do not see segregated buses, restaurants, or schools. This nation has learned how to live as one, and to see everyone as equal. Blacks are still, and always will be stereotyped as a whole, but this was not King’s goal. His goal was to obtain the rights and liberties that was their birth right for his children, his children’s children, and for the people who have worked so hard and suffered so much to become free in a society filled with inequality beliefs.
Brown, Mitchell. “Martin Luther King, Jr. Chronology” 18 Jan. 2005. Louisiana State University. 7 Mar. 2006
King, Martin Luther, Jr. . The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York:
Warner Books, 1998.
“Martin Luther King – Biography” 15 Apr. 2005. Nobel Peace Prize. 7 Mar. 2006
Ross, Shmuel. “March on Washington, August 28 1963.” 2005. Info Please. 10 Mar. 2006
Teare, Erin. “Martin Luther King, Jr., Quotations, Press on and keep pressing …” 2005.
Info Please. 7 Mar. 2006
Original article by Penarol11