Martin Luther King, Jr is a prominent African American in the history of the United States of America renown for his civil rights activism in his life making him an important human rights icon even today. Martin Luther King Jr was born in Atlanta, Georgia on 15th January 1929 in a Christian family with his father Martin Luther King Sr. a reverend and his mother Alberta Williams King. He had two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother. King grew up in Atlanta and attended Bookker T Washington High School. He joined Morehouse College at the age of fifteen and later in 1948 graduated with a degree in Arts majoring in sociology.
He later enrolled in Cruzer Theological Seminary for theological studies and graduated in 1951. He enrolled in Boston University for his doctorate in systematic theology and received his PHD in 1955. He married Coretta Scott in 1953 and had four children. In 1954 he became Dextor Avenue Baptist Church Pastor at the age of 25. In 1955 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1957 assisted the founding of Southern Christian Leadership conference, 1963 led March on Washington where he delivered his “I have a Dream” speech and in1964, he received Nobel Peace prize.
Thereafter his focuses was on poverty Vietnam War and religion and in 1968 April 4th, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His significance is still felt and have been rewarded the 1977 Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2004 Congressional Gold Medal and the United States further established a national holiday in his respect in 1986. (Bruns 1-30) Martin Luther King Jr accomplished a lot in his life. The 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott which he led was as a result of the oppressions and discriminations that African Americans were going through from the dominating whites.
The Jim Crow laws existed and which segregated non-white communities in public services. The boycott lasted for a year leading to King’s arrest and his house bombing. However, he influenced the end of racial segregation on the buses and Jim Crow laws amendment in 1965. With other civil rights activists, Martin Luther founded the Southern Christian leadership conference in 1957. This group aimed at mobilizing the black churches against civil right abuse. Kings applied non violence techniques in his awareness a concept he borrowed from Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1960s the American politics were dominated by civil right injustices. Kings therefore mobilized the society on right to vote, labor rights, civil rights and desegregation. He became so influential from public opinion sympathy. However, he was successful in influencing the civil rights act of 1964 and voting rights act 1965. In his fight against desegregation, King found himself in conflict with the law and in life threatening incidents. At one time he was stubbed on the chest by a woman because of his stance. In 1961 he was arrested and jailed along others in Albany movement.
In 1963 along with SCLC he led the Birmingham campaigns that lasted for two months against all racial segregations and discriminatory laws. In these campaigns they confronted with the law enforcers and many were arrested. Children also took into the campaigns. Despite Kings Advocate for non-violent campaigns, at times pressure exceeded and violence was reported. These campaigns were significant in the Jim Crow laws removal and King’s reputation growth. He was also influential in the 1964 St Augustine and Selma Marches against white’s harassment.
The 1963 March of Washington was very significant in the history of Martin Luther Kings as well as that of the United States. It attracted around half a million people from all racial backgrounds. It is at this place that he voiced his ‘I have a dream’ speech that influenced and still influences Americans even today. The march aimed at voicing freedom and equality in all sectors like in jobs. Along with other civil rights movements and activists, they voiced on poor wages, desegregations in public institutions like schools, protection of civil movements from police brutality, self government for Washington among others.
There after, he continued with his activism expressing his stance on compensation of the disadvantaged and black Americans. He was involved in Bloody Sunday saga and influenced the Chicago marches that included the Belmont Cragin, Bogan, Gege Park, and Evergreen Park alongside others. He also opposed the Vietnam War terming the American government involvement as goal oriented and as the purveyor of the violence. “Beyond Vietnam” speech was very significant in his stance on Vietnam. He basically criticized the United States government involvement in to this war.
All these pressures and influences he had against the American government made him very insecure. His life was endangered with instances of even physical assaults and life threats. All these led to his assassination in 1968 when in his civil duties. His death still remains a controversy as his enemies ranged from the government to individuals. His influence still remains even today. His is known to have influenced many prominent people including Jesse Jackson and Barrack Obama. His influence was also felt in the third world countries across Africa and Asia.
(Bruns 1-143) The thoughts and the life of Martin Luther Kings Jr are very significant not only to the Americans but to the world at large. Many of the third world countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia have drawn their political dominance struggle from his teachings. By the year 1968 in his assassination, many African countries had acquired independence but elements of Europeans control still dominated their political and economic settings. They have applied king’s thoughts to seek fully their independence.
In South Africa, prominent people against apartheid like Desmond Tutu, Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Alan Boesky have advocated kings thought in their struggle. The social divisions characterizing most nations in the world have brought discrimination of the lower classes. For instance the Rich discriminate the poor. The poor have continued struggling and in most cases they have used the kings’ non violence strategy for fear that the rich would overcome them in violence. (Roof 113-115) African American originally migrated in the United States as slaves. They were discriminated and oppressed in their places of work.
Even after the abolishment of slavery, elements of oppression and discrimination were still rampant in American society. There was and have been the need to address this issue as the superiority nature of US depends on its entire people and not a particular race. Martin Luther was among the many people who have dedicated their lives to create a racism free society. He challenged the United States government which led to the abolishment of constitution based discriminative elements. It was upon his efforts that many other anti-segregation and civil rights have emerged.
They have challenged consecutive government enhancing equality in race in the United States society. As a super power, United States have significantly influenced the global community against racism. It has influenced the united nation to act against racism in European world a place where racism is one of the major social issues. His influence is not only in black people but also in minority group in the world. Martin Luther King Jr is celebrated for he sowed the seeds of healing and hope in United States. His leadership was courageous, truthful, and compassionate of dignity and humility.
He advocated for forgiveness, unconditional love and nonviolence element that most of the successful leader in the world today have adopted. His expression in the dream of America has in itself a lot to copy. He emphasized multiracial nation bound by justice, peace and reconciliation. His holiday is very significant in the American unity. There is not other day that brings all races together in a vibrant spirit of togetherness. The Hispanic, African Americans, Native Americans and all other immigrants feel they are part of the Luther’s dream on America.
He had a vision on the world that its people and nations will overcome poverty, war, racism and violence. He had a vision on ecumenical solidarity which implied that all faiths have a significant contribution to the beloved society. His life and thoughts have also had an influence to many people in that his endurance in threats and beatings for the sake of the freedom for others. (Rev King Holiday) In education, he influenced sociology. He was an advocate of non violence reconciliation and unconditional love perspectives that can be applied in solving social conflicts.
His emphasis on “what is the most loving way I can resolve this conflict? ” in solving problem is the most diplomatic method that many nations have applied in solving their differences. He prompted love to all mankind. In his holiday Americans take that opportunity to help the unfortunate the sick and the poor in their society. His life is also significant to the Christianity way of life. It emphasized the love of God and the love for your neighbor as the greatest commandment. He was food of quoting the Bible and almost lived a perfect way. Jesus Himself died for the good of the people to set them free from their sins.
Martin Luther’s died in the war for freedom of his people. He has influence many non-Christians to join the faith and also many Christians to imitate his strategies (The Struggle Begins) The election of Barrack Obama as the president of the United States is a reflection of Martin Luther King fight against racism in the US. It is an evidence of the extent the United States people have reached in race relation. It reflects Americans citizen’s decisions not on the color of the skin but on the content and characters of its leaders. Obama’s appointment can be described to be a fulfillment of King’s dream.
He expressed his hopes in an equitable society and appealed to the moral consciousness of Americans. It is under this inspiration that the American voted in. Obama’s win was also on caution to those amongst the American who are still in racism ideologies. King’s influence will continue as such racist are now likely to reform making US a racism free society. (Zaid) Martin Luther king Jr was a young man who has influenced a lot of young men around the world. He worked tirelessly to fully realize his potential despite the challenges he came across. Unfortunately he was assassinated.
His life has been a challenge to many youth who are vulnerable in loosing hope. His life is a testimony implying everybody can succeed in all areas in life. The ideology that the more one is aged the more successful is a thing of the past. Many youths have exploited their talents and have really succeeded under king’s inspiration. They are evident in sports, entertainment, politics, business and education. He emphasized on moral consciousness a concept that when adapted, one can refrain from civil disobedience reducing violation through drug abuse and other crimes.
For any society to succeed in all dimensions of life, it must observe equality, be moral conscious, obey the civil rights, and use friendly strategy in solving conflicts. These were the king’s major advocacies. He is a significant icon in the United States success. Therefore, his strategies should be used all over the world in foreign and domestic polices. His thoughts and strategies can be effective in solving many conflicts around the world. Nation-nation conflicts may be resolved using a more friendly and diplomatic strategy.
Domestic violence especially in African communities may be solved without violation of human rights and civil rights. Even as Kings influence continue to be felt all over, even as his dreams start fulfilling a lot need to be done to address the uncovered issues that still oppress the minority and the poor. He fought for civil movements and who should in turn continue challenging the violators of justice.
Roof, C. W.World Order and Religion: SUNY Press, 1991: 113 – 115 Bruns, R. Martin Luther King, Jr: A Biography: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006: 1 – 143 Rev King Holiday. Martin Luther king. Retrieved on Monday, December 08, 2008 from, http://www. theholidayspot. com/martin_luther_king_day/meaning. htm Zaid, I. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , Barack Obama, and the Fate of America. 2008. Retrieved on Monday, December 08, 2008 from, http://www. newislamicdirections. com/nid/notes/dr_martin_luther_king_jr_barack _obama_and_the_fate_of_america/ The Struggle Begins. Lecture 25 Martin Luther Kings. Retrieved on Monday, December 08, 2008 from, http://www. wfu. edu/~matthetl/perspectives/twentysix. html
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