Who was Martin Luther King?
Martin Luther King. American Baptist Pastor, defender of civil rights. The long struggle of black Americans to achieve full rights since 1955. Saw an acceleration in whose leadership was soon to highlight the young pastor.
He was an American Baptist activist and pastor of the twentieth century (he was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta and died on April 4, 1968, in Memphis at age 39) known mainly for: – Fighting peacefully against racial segregation and discrimination in the United States.
Childhood Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929. He was the average of three brothers born of the marriage of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King.
Luther King was originally christened Michael King Jr. (his father’s birth name).
After a family trip to Germany, Michael King Sr. decided to change his own name. And that of his son by Martin Luther King, in honor of the Augustinian theologian Martin Luther.
Youth and academic life Martin Luther King
At age 15, King Jr. entered the Morehouse College, a university for African-American youth from which he graduated in sociology three years later.
Perennial student, he moved to the northeast of the country (Pennsylvania and Boston) to continue his postgraduate studies and specialize in theology.
He graduated in this discipline at the age of 22 and got his doctorate from the University of Boston four years later (during this time he received texts and information from one of the people who would most influence his way of seeing and living. life: Mahatma Gandhi).
In 1954, at age 25, he was named pastor of the Baptist Church on Dexter Avenue.
Fight against racial segregation
In the year 1955, following the arrest of a black woman after refusing to give her bus seat to a white man. King decided to start a non-violent protest against the racial segregation suffered by his city.
Taking advantage of the resonance he had as a pastor. He suggested to the black population of Montgomery not to use public transport until such racist manifestations were completely eradicated.
One year after the start of the bus boycott, racial segregation was declared illegal in public transport in the city.
In 1957, Luther King participated in the founding of the Southern Conference of Christian Leadership, a pacifist group from which he would be president until his death created to participate actively in the Civil Rights movement organizing African-American churches in non-violent protests.
Despite the surveillance the FBI submitted to him. Luther King continued with the nonviolent protests, which had his reference in the press. Numerous reports began to show the humiliations suffered by African-Americans in the southern United States.
I have a dream
The success in Montgomery made the name of Luther King famous throughout the country and more and more followers and activists joined the struggle for racial equality.
In 1963, at the peak of his cause, he led, along with another 250,000 people, a march for Washington in which he advocated, especially, to improve the living conditions and integration of the black population in the south of the country.
In that peaceful protest, the biggest one that the American capital has lived in all its history recited its famous speech “I have a dream”.
Considered a masterpiece of oratory, the name with which this discourse is known comes from its central part, in which reiterating the formula I have a dream (I have a dream).
Martin Luther King elevates to the condition of ideal the simple materialization of equality. “I dream that my four small children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the qualities of their character”.
Valuable as a condensed expression of its principles as for its impressive emotional height, its validity continues to move more than half a century later.
On October 14, 1964, with only 35 years. He received the Nobel Peace Prize (he is currently the youngest person to receive this distinction).
Murder of Martin Luther King
After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Luther King continued his struggle for the equality of the black race.
On April 4, 1968, at 6:00 PM and one minute. Martin Luther King was killed by a white segregationist on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
His body, with a bullet in his throat, was transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital. The murder sparked a wave of racial riots in 60 cities across the United States that caused numerous deaths and forced police intervention.
Five days later, President Johnson decreed a national day of mourning. (The first for an African-American) in honor of Martin Luther King.
Two months after the death of Martin Luther King. James Earl Ray was captured at the London Heathrow airport. When he tried to leave the United Kingdom with a fake passport.
Ray was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with the death of Martin Luther King; He acknowledged the murder on March 10, 1969, and retracted three days later.
Advised by his lawyer Percy Foreman, Ray pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
+ 15 Curious Facts About Luther King
- When he was six years old, his white friends explained that they could not play with him because of his skin tone.
- Originally he was called Michael, but his father on a trip to Germany changed the names to “Martin Luther”.
- With 15 years old entering university.
- He was arrested more than 20 times.
- He graduated in Sociology and received a doctorate in Systematic Theology.
- His wife was another great activist, Coretta Scott, with whom he had four children.
- He was persecuted and watched for years by the FBI.
- He worked at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans in the United States.
- His speech “I have a dream” (I have a dream). Reached more than 250 thousand people in 1963 and was improvised.
- Throughout his life, he traveled almost 10 million kilometers and spoke in public more than 2,500 times.
- He was always a supporter of civil disobedience, which he considered a right of all human beings.
- More than 700 streets with your name (only in the United States).
In 1966, in Chicago, he received a brick in the face.
- Martin Luther King Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada (Toronto) and Japan (Hiroshima).
- Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr. are the only ones who have a national (United States) day in their honor.
- He received 20 honorary doctorates from American and foreign universities.