I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Throughout the years, the American Civil Rights Movement has continued to make strides in the equal treatment of all American citizens. Many people have joined in this struggle, so that all in this country may participate in the freedoms this country offers. One great leader in this campaign gave voice to a struggling minority that longed to share in the liberties of this American Dream. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister and a social activist who played an essential role in this crusade. He peacefully fought for equality and human rights, and his motivational speeches and his activism moved our nation. His leadership inspired our world, and his actions guided our government to end the legal segregation of African-American citizens.
On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia in the home of his maternal grandmother. At birth, he was named after his father, Michael King. However, father and son changed their names to Martin Luther King. The name change was in honor of a German religious leader, Martin Luther. This work of this godly man encouraged King’s father. King’s father and grandfather served as ministers, and his mother was a teacher.
King attended Booker T. Washington High School, and the young man excelled in school. At the age of fifteen, he attended Moorhouse College and graduated with a degree in sociology. Later, at the age of 18, he enrolled in Crozier Theological Seminary. On June 5, 1955, he received his Ph.D. in systematic theology at Boston University. During this time, he met Coretta Scott, and the two married in 1953. The couple had four children, two daughters, and two sons. While working on his dissertation, King became the pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
King was best known for his peaceful protests and his civil rights activism. He was the voice of the Montgomery bus boycott, and he was a founding member and leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1963, he helped organize the March on Washington, and it was in Washington DC, where he presented his “I Have a Dream” speech. More than 200,000 people attended this rally and heard his cry for equal treatment for all. He played a vital role in in civil rights, and in 1964, The Civil Rights Act banned segregation in public places, and it ended employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
In 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership and steadfast opposition to segregation. On April 4, 1968, this beloved leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee while standing on his hotel balcony. Still, his legacy has continued, and his work and his memory will be remembered throughout history, for this kind man created a spark that has grown into a movement; a movement that reminds that we all are equal in the eyes of the law and our Creator.
Martin Luther King, Jr. has always been one of my favorite national leaders. He continued to stand for justice even when the world around him exploded in anger and violence. This wise man refused to act violently and showed the world how to lead through peaceful demonstrations. He brought change and humbly carried our nation to a new beginning.
- “Biography of Dr Martin Luther King | Dr Martin Luther King Biography.” Dr Martin Luther King, drmartinlutherking.net/martin-luther-king-biography.
- Carson, Clayborne, and David L. Lewis. “Martin Luther King, Jr.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 15 Dec. 2017, http://www.britannica.com/ biography/Martin-Luther-King-Jr.
- History.com Staff. “Martin Luther King Jr.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/martin-luther-king-jr.
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- “Martin Luther King Jr.” Nobelprize.org, The Nobel Foundation, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html.
- “Who Is Martin Luther King Jr? Everything You Need to Know.” Facts, Childhood, Family Life & Achievements Of Civil Rights Leader, http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/martin-luther-king-jr-48.php.