Martin Luther king Jr was born in January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were martin Luther King Sr and Alberta Williams King. His father was initially called Michael King, but after they traveled to Germany, he changed his name to Martin Luther after a German protestant leader Martin Luther. He got married to Coretta Scott in June 1953 in his hometown Alabama. They got four children. Martin Luther king Jr. became a pastor at an age of 25 in Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Since Martin Luther King Jr grew up in Atlanta, he schooled at Booker T. Washington High School. Since he was an outstanding student, he skipped 9th and 12th grade and then proceeded to Morehouse College at an age 15 years. In 1948, the King graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in sociology. He later enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania where he got his second degree in bachelor of divinity in 1951. He did his doctoral studies at Boston University and graduated in the year 1955 with a doctor philosophy degree (Rosenberg, 1995).
Martin Luther king was the driving force behind the civil rights movements of the 1960s. He organized peaceful marches to protest against segregation and racial injustices against the blacks in America. His speech of 1963 “I have a Dream” which was directed against peace and racial equality stands out to be one of the most powerful speeches in American history (White, 2010). His efforts to fight equality in America led to expression of his view that all black Americans and other disadvantaged groups should receive compensations for the wrongs done to them in the past.
He stated further that giving black Americans equality could not bring them to the same level as the whites in terms of economic achievements (Brown, 1996). He clarified that he was not trying to recover the lost wages during slavery, but just proposed a government compensatory scheme of about $ 50 billion for a period of ten years to the disadvantaged groups. The King went further and presented this proposal as an application to the common law and clarified that all disadvantaged groups from all races should benefit (Saul, 2010).
Martin Luther king used sermons and speeches to fight for the rights of the disadvantaged groups. Throughout his career as a pastor, he wrote articles and spoke fluently. His efforts to fight for justice are also found in his writings, for example his letter from Birmingham jail which he wrote in 1963. Martin received a Nobel peace prize in 14th October, 1964 for having led non-violent peace protests against racial inequality. He became the youngest recipient of such an award (Rosenberg, 1995).
There were laws which were famously known as Jim Crows laws which prohibited black Americans from boarding buses which were meant for the whites. The blacks were also supposed to leave seats to whites whenever the bus was full. In March 1955, there was a case of a school girl who refused to leave her seat to a white man in accordance with Jim Crows Laws. Martin Luther king happened to be in the Birmingham African American committee which was supposed to preside over the case. Martin and his colleagues dropped the case.
In December the same year, another black woman was arrested for refusing to give out her seat. These events led to the organization of Montgomery bus boycott of 1955. It was organized by Nixon and led by Martin. The boycott remained for about 385 days and a lot of tension built up which led to bombing of the kings house. The boycott led to the arrest of King when he was campaigning. The arrest resulted in a ruling by the United States district court that ended racial discrimination on all Montgomery public buses (Brown, 1996).
In 1957, king and other civil rights activists formed southern Christian leadership conference. The main objective for the formation of the organization was to connect the moral authority and the organizing authority of black churches to carryout non violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. Martin Luther King was the leader of this organization till his death. King widely employed Gandhi’s non violent tactics in his campaigns to correct the civil rights laws which were used in Alabama (Brown, 1996).
Martin Luther knew that properly organized non violent protests opposing the system of southern segregation popularly known as Jim Crows laws would result in wide media coverage of the struggle of the black Americans for equality and voting rights. Media coverage on each day deprivation and indignities directed to the southern blacks and violence and harassment from the segregationist to the civil rights activists and marchers resulted into a wind of sympathetic public opinion that made majority of Americans understand that civil rights movement was the contentious issue in American politics in early1960s.
Still on his campaign trail, King went to Memphis, Tennessee on March 29th 1968 to support black sanitary public workers who were on strike demanding better wages and equal treatment. On his way to Memphis, his flight was delayed due to bomb threat. On 3rd April 1968, king delivered a speech at the world headquarters of the church of God in Christ. Martin was assassinated at 6:01 pm in April 4th, 1968 while at the balcony of Lorraine motel (Saul, 2010). Conclusion
Martin Luther King is fondly remembered by the American people and the world as a whole for having dedicated his entire life to fight for the right of the oppressed. Most of his efforts delivered fruits and black Americans and other disadvantaged groups got rights and liberty. Each year on the third Monday in January, his birthday is celebrated. It is the first national holiday dedicated to a black American. References: Brown, M. (1996). Martin Luther King Jr. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://www. lib. lsu. edu/hum/mlk/srs216. html Rosenberg, P.
(1995). Martin Luther King – A Different Drum Major. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://www. hartford-hwp. com/archives/45a/002. html Saul, M. (2010). President Obama, other leaders recall Rev. Martin Luther King and his Achievements. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://www. nydailynews. com/news/national/2010/01/19/2010-01- 19_recalling_king_and_his_deeds. html White, D. (2010). Wise & Prophetic Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Retrieved on February 8, 2010 from: http://usliberals. about. com/od/patriotactcivilrights/a/MLKWords. htm.