Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most astonishing men of the 20th century. He was born on January 15, 1929. His father was a faithful Baptist preacher and his mother was a school teacher. He entered college when he was only fifteen years old and graduated seven years later with a Ph. D. in Theology. Dr. King was one of the most heroic and respected leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. He sacrificed his life for the dream of equal rights. The consequences of being a Black person and standing up for fairness are unpredictable. For example, Dr. King’s house was bombed in January of 1956.
In January of 1957, a group of Black ministers formed what became known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dr. King was named its first president. As a committed leader he traveled about 780,000 miles and made 208 speeches. Dr. King published his first book, Stride Toward Freedom, in 1958. In 1959, King went to India for a visit with Mohandas Gandhi, and learned Gandhi’s passive resistance techniques for later use in the civil-rights movement. In 1962, Dr. King met with President John F. Kennedy, urging support for civil rights. In 1963, Dr.
King led protests in Birmingham for desegregated department store facilities and fair hiring. While detained in jail for demonstrating against a court order he wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail. ” In August, Dr. King gave his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream. ” In 1964, Dr. King published his second book, Why We Can’t Wait. In December 1964, Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize. In February of the same year, Dr. King continued to protest against voter registration discrimination, and was arrested and jailed. In March, 1965, Dr. King and about 3,200 people made the famous march from Selma to Montgomery.
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray. His death saddened a whole nation, but his death was not in vain. He represents freedom and justice to millions of people. He will always be remembered in history and in many people’s hearts. To remember and honor him, the United States Congress designated January 15 as National Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. King could bring people’s dreams to reality, but he did not have the opportunity to see those dreams come true. He could only celebrate this day in heaven. Dr. King is a hero.
His example, his works, and his accomplishments changed the world Americans live in, and helped to build better relationships between races. Dr. King’s life tells us about the importance and the value of freedom in our world. If the world is without freedom, justice, and equal rights, we need to change it, but it does take sacrifice. Being known as a man beyond his years, Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned something that many during his time period didn’t. He saw a possibility of change for minorities all throughout the United States. Despite the fact that slavery had been abolished for some time, Dr.
King noticed that hatred, oppression, and the want for true freedom was still apparent throughout the country. Instead of sitting there waiting for change, he took action and sparked a revolution that had never been seen before in history. This change, in Dr. King’s words had been well over due. Dr. King had been exceptionally inspired by a dream, this dream evolving into a powerful movement. During his time, desegregation of the South was viewed by many as an impossible task. Although many bombarded Dr. King with ridicule, he ignored the negative and still strived to achieve his dream. Dr.
King’s vision was always present and attempted in the years before him, but none proved to be successful due to strict laws created by southern officials. Inspired by Gandhi, Dr. King used nonviolent methods of protest to not only move the hearts of mankind, but also to inspire youths to pursue their dreams and aspirations. The followers of Dr. King held many peaceful demonstrations including marches and sit-ins to bring about change. The main intent of the demonstrations was to get a point across peacefully, but some events lead to violence brought forth by the police force and racist organizations.
The violence and hatred of some only created an everlasting hunger in Dr. King’s followers to keep pressing onward in reaching their goal. Dr. King and his followers came to the conclusion that they would no longer allow themselves to turn their backs from such oppression. This was in the benefit for not only black rights, but for the rights of all oppressed around the world. Martin Luther King Jr. has proved himself to be a great visionary and drastically impacted the world due to his actions. He pushed and pushed, and eventually saw the hearts of his fellow man slowly change.
Sadly, like so many great men before him he passed away before he saw his vision in full effect. Dr. King’s dream still lives on today instilled in the heart of every American no matter what race or ethnicity. Wh en we gaze at what Dr. King accomplished, we see a man who changed the world. Martin Luther King Jr. will always be remembered in history as a great man. Each year a fundamental question arises. Young people especially want to know, “Why do we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Early in our country’s history, almost all black people came here as slaves.
Because people in the South felt they needed cheap labor in building the land and because black people in Africa knew how to farm land like that in the South, they were taken from their homes and forced to come to America. Upon arriving in this country, they were sold to whites as slaves without rights or freedoms. In 1776, the American Colonies declared their freedom from Great Britain. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is, Jefferson declared that all citizens have the rights to be free from oppression and have equal opportunities in pursuing their goals. These ideals have been called the American Dream. To best achieve these ideals, the people of the United States developed their government along democratic principles in which the people choose who will lead them and decide which laws should guide them. The Constitution is a document that tells how leaders are to be chosen and how laws are to be made. The laws can be changed, usually when a majority votes to do so. However, in the new government, slaves were not given the same rights as white people.
They were not given the opportunity to choose their leaders, start businesses, own homes or go to school. Slaves were not allowed to lead their lives in the ways they wanted. Yet, there were many people, mostly people in the North, who wanted the slaves to be free, but there was not a majority of the people in the country who felt that way. Some states in the North had outlawed slavery, but most blacks in the South remained slaves. Free blacks in the North had more rights than slaves, but they still did not have as many rights as white people. Freeing the slaves was a large issue in the Civil War.
After that war, the slaves were finally given their freedom through amendments to the Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery in the United States, the Fourteenth Amendment gave blacks citizenship and the Fifteenth Amendment gave them the right to vote. Blacks became free citizens of the United States, but many whites were not happy with this change. They felt that blacks should not be treated as citizens equal to whites. They passed laws to keep whites and blacks apart. In 1896, the Supreme Court decided that the “separate but equal” facilities legalized in the South did not violate the 14th Amendment.
Thus, blacks could not work with whites, live in the same neighborhoods or send their children to the same schools as whites. Even so, black people throughout the nation contributed to the betterment of the country. Efforts to give black people their rights never stopped, but the changes were not enough. After World War II, many more people felt that new laws were needed. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that blacks and whites could go to the same schools, saying that “separate but equal” schools were inherently unequal. However, many people still did not want to change.
It took a strong leader, a person who believed in peace and justice, to win more freedom for black Americans. Martin Luther King, Jr. was that man. Between 1955 and 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. helped change America. He brought to the world’s attention how unfairly blacks were treated. He had the help of millions of Americans, but his strong leadership and unprecedented power of speech gave people the faith and courage to keep working peacefully even when others did not. This led to new laws that ended the practice of keeping people of different backgrounds apart, making life fairer for everyone.
America will always remember the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year, on the third Monday in January, we celebrate his birthday. This is the first national holiday to honor an individual black American. The legacy of Dr. King lives in each of us and we are responsible to promote, teach and live the American Dream. Martin Luther king changed history on all for the African American’s but for coloured people meaning tanned people, Spanish, black, brown and any coloured skin tone. It’s not what Martin Luther King did for just African Americans but what he did for ALL Americans that is significant.
America was run mostly by white Protestant males and all others were to one degree or another less than fully enfranchised in many ways. We now have many examples of people from backgrounds of all races and religions and both sexes who have achieved the highest levels in our society and it is no longer a rarity, it is becoming the norm. This not only recognizes their inalienable rights as human beings guaranteed in American law but makes the fullest use of human capital, the most valuable commodity we have.
For this reason, Martin Luther King is not just an African American hero but a national hero and fully deserves the national holiday of commemoration we devote to him. No other society can boast an individual who has had such a profound impact, not even India’s Mahatma Gandhi when there are still 150 million untouchables in India three generations after his death. Nations with their own racial and ethnic problems which have not even recognized them let alone begun to solve them would do well to study his teachings and how those who used them in America successfully dealt with this difficult issue.