MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Also Known As:- MLK Jr. Michael Luther King, Jr.
Born: January 15, 1929 Atlanta Georgia
Died: April 4, 1968 Memphis Tennessee
Awards And Honors: Grammy Award (1970) Nobel Prize (1964)Notable Works: “I Have A Dream”
Occupation – Baptist, minister,activist
Known for – Civil rights movement, Peace movement
Awards – Nobel Peace Prize (1964)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (posthumously, 1977)
Congressional Gold Medal (posthumously, 2004)
About his Life:
There are people who are able to defeat the ravages of the eternal enemy-time and continue to live on in the minds of men, There are a select few who challenge the limitations of a system that fails to deliver justice. Men like Martin Luther King Jr are soldiers of God who do not care for the consequences when it comes to fighting for the truth. King was born on 15 January 1929, at Atlanta and died on 4 April 1968, at Memphis. Not a very long life, but what he achieved during this time is enviable. Few men reach such dazzling heights of spiritual success even in several lives.
King was a US civil rights leader. The son and grandson of Baptist teachers, King was deeply influenced by the idea of non-violence while in college. The influence of Mahatma Gandhi was obvious. Ordained a Baptist minister himself in 1954, he became pastor of a church in Montgomery. University. He was elected to head the Montgomery Improvement Association whose boycott efforts eventually ended the city’s policies of racial discrimination on public transportation. 1955, he received a doctorate from Boston University. He was elected to head the Montgomery improvement association whose boycott efforts eventually ended the city’s policies of racial discrimination on public transportation.
In 1957, he formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and began lecturing nationwide, urging active non-violence to achieve civil rights for African Americans. In 1960, he was back in Atlanta to become co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father.
He was arrested and jailed for protesting segregation at a lunch counter. The case drew national attention and none other than the then presidential candidate, John F Kennedy, had to intercede to obtain his release. In 1963 King helped organise the March on Washington, an assembly of more than 200,000 protestors, at which he made his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. This powerful and moving speech celebrates humanity as one big family where being human is more important than being black or white. The march influenced the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. King was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize for Peace.
In 1965, he was criticised from within the civil-rights movement for yielding to state troopers at a march in Selma and for failing in the effort to change Chicago’s housing segregation policies. Thereafter, he broadened his advocacy, addressing the plight of the poor of all races and opposing the Vietnam War. In 1968, he went to Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers. There, on April 4, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray. A U.S. national holiday is celebrated in King’s honour on the third Monday of January in the USA. King, like Gandhi, was a gentle yet powerful prophet of a non- violent revolution who sacrificed his life for his principles. King lives through his work and words in the hearts of millions, and his untiring zeal to achieve justice motivates individuals to keep trying. The kind of following King has today undoubtedly makes us feel, ‘when one is willing, the Gods join in’. (Aeschylus).
MK day:After years of campaigning by activists, members of Congress and Coretta Scott King, among others, in 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a U.S. federal holiday in honor of King.Observed on the third Monday of January, Martin Luther King Day was first celebrated in 1986.
Assassination of Martin Luther King:
The events in Selma deepened a growing rift between Martin Luther King, Jr. and young radicals who repudiated his nonviolent methods and commitment to working within the established political framework.
As more militant Black leaders such as Stokely Carmichael rose to prominence, King broadened the scope of his activism to address issues such as the Vietnam War and poverty among Americans of all races. In 1967, King and the SCLC embarked on an ambitious program known as the Poor People’s Campaign, which was to include a massive march on the capital.
On the evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated. He was fatally shot while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, where King had traveled to support a sanitation workers’ strike. In the wake of his death, a wave of riots swept major cities across the country, while President Johnson declared a national day of mourning.
James Earl Ray, an escaped convict and known racist, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He later recanted his confession and gained some unlikely advocates, including members of the King family, before his death in 1998.
Martin Luther king Jr. Quotes:
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”