Martin Luther King Junior was the son of Alberta King and Reverend Martin King, Sr. He was born in the year 1929 on the 15th of January. He was named Martin Luther King in honor and remembrance of the Martin King, who was a great German reformer. He embraced Christianity at an early stage by enrolling in a seminary. He argued that the Bible has ‘profound truths’ which no one can refute. He grew up in Atlanta. After graduating from Crozer Seminary with a sociology degree in 1951, he began dating Coretta Scot. They later married in 1953 in her hometown, Heiberger Alabama. King and Coretta had four children. He had already started a church in Montgomery before he turned 25. He was heavily influenced by the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. This is reflected in most of his sermons and speeches. He loved to regurgitate the love commandment of Jesus Christ. He pleaded with Americans to love their God and their neighbors as their love themselves. This was in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. King also borrowed heavily from the philosophies of Gandhi of India. This was especially with regard to protests and activism of a non-violent nature. This was at a time when there was a regime of government that was not only oppressive, but also authoritarian. He went to India and toured the birthplace of Gandhi in 1959. He developed a profound understanding of the nature, benefit and success of non-violent resistance toward the oppressive government policies. This enabled him rejuvenate his commitment in the fight for civil rights. After the visit, he realized that the best way to defeat evil forces well and square was through the use of non-violent means as taught by Jesus, written by Tolstoy and enhanced by Gandhi.
The case of Browder v Gayle (1956) played a vital role in enhancing King’s role in American politics. The presiding judges in the case outlawed Bus Segregation in Alabama. In response to this, King decided to expand his non-violent rights movement to the South. In furtherance of this objective and the realization that unity of purpose is extremely vital in such a crucial subject matter, King agreed to join the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King was elected president of the organization and as the person in charge of coordinating SCLC activities all over the country. In 1957, during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom conference, he advocated for voting rights for blacks. He narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in 1958. He acted cautiously. He believed a leader should not only advocate for the rights of his followers, but also be a role model that should be emulated by all. However, he did not escape unscathed from all his protests and demonstrations. During the Montgomery bus boycott, his house was bombed a number of times in failed attempts to assassinate him. He gave up demonstrations when Izola Curry stabbed him using a letter opener.
King was an extremely fascinating leader. He not only managed to establish and mash up support for numerous organizations that sought to spread peace, end discrimination and advocate for black’s civil rights, but also managed to influence their modes of operations by conducting their protests and demonstration in a peaceful manner. He united Christians, Jewish groups and churches towards a common goal; that of liberating American citizens from the yolk of oppressive regimes and policies prevalent during the American civil rights movement. He was able to relate colonialism in Asia and Africa with black’s segregation in the United States. This led to the emergency of friendly forces outside America that supported his cause. He even traveled to Ghana during their independence day in 1957. He also met with Tom Mboya, who was a labor leader in the newly democratic Kenya, where he expressed his desire to work together with Pan-Africanist to ensure the end of oppressive regimes around the world.
King was also instrumental in ensuring the organization, coordination and success of the Birmingham Campaign. This was a massive civil rights demonstration despite increased and more influential white supremacist competition and insubordination. The impact of these protests was felt nationally leading the Kennedy administration to intervene in order to restore law and order. It was at this time that he penned the famous ‘letter from Birmingham Jail’ which swayed public opinion to his side as he sought to connect the Constitution and the Bible to illustrate the rights and freedom of man. This led to the introduction of civil rights legislation. This was a significant achievement in the fight for civil rights and demonstrates that growing influence of King in shaping the direction of governance in the United States. Moreover, his speech ‘I have a dream’ in Washington made during a demonstration dubbed ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’ attracted at least 200,000 people across America. This led to a lot of protests against the segregation policies and politics even in the northern part of the country that had not experienced such protests before. His campaigns and support led to the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Throughout his life, King spoke vehemently against oppression and segregation. He believed that each person should be judged by his or her abilities and capabilities to discharge his or her duties and obligations and not by the color of his skin. He was engaged in numerous activities including campaigns against the Vietnam War, the Poor People’s Campaign and the Memphis Sanitation Strike, among others. He was assassinated while in Memphis in 1968 on April 4th. A few riots sprung after his assassination but they all died a slow death. However, most of his followers did not give up on the fight for freedom. April 7th was declared a day of national mourning by President Lyndon Johnson. Days after his assassination, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was enacted into law by congress. This led to prohibition of discrimination in residential places. He left behind a great legacy that has inspired many leaders across the world.
About King. 2013. 1 April 2013
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"Martin Luther King Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle." 2013. ww. stanford.edu. 1 April 2013
Schraff, Anne E. Martin Luther King Jr. New York: Saddleback Educational Publ, 2008.
The Nobel Peace Prize 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. Biography. 2013. 1 April 2013