Martin Luther King Jr. The Peacemaker

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Martin Luther King, 1964

In January, America honors Dr.Martin Luther King,Jr. Celebrate black history month in February, pay tribute to great African Americans who decided to change their world.

For some, Martin Luther King,Jr. Day is just a free day off from school. He was a good man. He fought for equality of all men, but he’s just another man in the history books. However, for people all over the USA, Martin Luther King Day is celebration of freedom and civil rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the first black Americans who publically spoke out about the injustice of segregation back in the 60s and throughout history.

Martin Luther King Jr

He was born Michael L. King in 1929. His birthplace was Atlanta, Georgia. Even in present day, the South is resistant to change, but back then, there a forced segregation between the whites and the blacks. For centuries, Caucasians saw themselves as superior to African race or in fact any individual who was different by race, creed or nationality. Change has been slow, but it is coming. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started that change.

The decision to change his name from Michael to Martin was simply that, a decision he made as a kid, for whatever reason. Martin Luther King, Jr. was highly educated. He was the son of a minister, so it seems only fitting that he too became a minister. He was ordained in 1947, and became a minister of a little Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama. He graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts in 1948. He went on to Crozier Theological Seminary and finished his studies there in 1951. He wasn’t finished yet. He finished his studies at Boston University with a Ph.D. in 1955.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

In 1955, a young black woman, Rosa Parks, refused the order of a bus driver to give her seat up on the bus to make room for a white passenger. Her stand led to the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56. Martin Luther King Jr. led that boycott. The boycott ended in a civil rights victory in 1956 when Montgomery buses began to operate on a desegregated basis.

Civil Rights Movement

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. organized an organization called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was a foundation used pursue further civil-rights, first in the South and later nationwide. He believed in peaceful demonstration. He had a philosophy of non-violent protest. It led to his arrest on numerous occasions in the 1950s and 60s. His efforts drew mixed emotions from everyone who witness them. He was literally changing history as he boldly spoke out against injustice and segregation. In 1963, the protest he led in Birmingham, Ala., brought him worldwide attention. He led over 200,000 people in a march on Washionton D.C. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent civil right efforts.

Many fought and resisted the changes brought on by the civil right movements during the 50s and 60s. Tension grew even stronger when the US began helping Vietnam. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was a non-violent peacemaker. Not only did he speak out for the civil rights, but he also spoke out against poverty and US involvement in the Vietnam War. Many took offense at this man’s boldness.

April 4, 1968

In 1968, preparations were being made for a Poor People’s March to Washington were interrupted. Dr. King took a trip to Memphis, Tennessee in support of striking sanitation workers. On Apr. 4, 1968, he was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. A man by the name of James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the murder and was convicted. However, later on, more information surfaced to reveal a possible conspiracy in which Ray played only a small part in the overall plan. James Earl Ray died in prison in 1998. To this day, occasional stories bring up a possible conspiracy theory in the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. None have been proven factual.