Martin Luther King, Jr
Martin Luther King, Jr. can best be described as a man whose life was extraordinary. The American activist, humanitarian and pastor was also the leader of African American Civil Rights movements. While he has been dead for quite a long time now, he is celebrated and known for the role he played in advancement of civil rights through use of non-violent civil disobedience which was based on the Christian beliefs he upheld.
At the age of 33, he pressing civil rights case with President J. Kennedy and at 34 he made the speech “I have a Dream” which galvanized the nation. At 35, Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace prize and he was assassinated at the age of 39. His death was not the end of his dreams though as he left a legally that was built on inspiration and hope one that lives on till today.
Who was Martin Luther King Jr?
Born on 15th January 1929 as Michael Luther King Jr. he later changed his first name to Martin as a way of honoring Martin Luther, the German reformer. He was raised in Atlanta, Georgia where he was born. Martin Jr. was a middle child and at the age of 13 he denied that Jesus had resurrected during Sunday school and from that point on, he had doubts about Christianity.
Later though, his attitude changed and concluded that there are ‘many profound truths which one cannot escape’ in the bible. He attended Booker T. Washington High School and is described as a precocious student. He skipped the 9th and 12th grades and still managed to enter Morehouse College without graduating formally from high school aged 15 years.
He graduated from Morehouse in 1948 with B.A degree in sociology then enrolled at the Crozer Theological seminary which is in Chester, Pennsylvania where he graduated in 1951 with a B.DiV degree. On 18th June, he married Coretta Scott and they had 4 children together. During their marriage, King Jr. limited the role played by Coretta in civil rights movement because he expected that she be a housewife.
Influences, political stances and ideas
Martin Luther King Jr. in 1954 at the age of 25 became Dexter Avenue Baptist Church pastor. As a minister, his influence was centered on Christian gospels and Jesus. Often, he would quote the bible in his speeches at church, public discourses and religious meetings. Bayard Rustin, a veteran civil rights activist for African-Americans was his mentor and advisor in the late 1950s.
Rustin had studied Gandhi’s teachings, applied some of them to the 1940s campaign on Journey to Reconciliation and originated from Christian Pacifist tradition. Rustin is the one who counseled King to uphold non-violence principals in his civil fight campaigns.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on 4th April 1968 while he stood at the balcony of the motel room he was staying in Memphis, Tennessee.
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