Martin Luther king was an outstanding black American leader in the United States. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15,1929. His father was a pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. His mother was a schoolteacher.
Martin Luther King confronted racism at a young age. When he was six years old, he had two white friends and his friend’s parents broke them up from being racism. At the age of eleven, a woman called him Niger. He knew that he wasn’t the only black person getting treated like that because he saw the something happen to different people. So he wanted to make a difference in the country that everybody will be equal!
In December 1958, Martin was chosen to be head of the Montgomery Improvement Association. A black community to lead a boycott of the closed city bus to blacks formed that association.
The blacks started to complain and some even fought.
Blacks and whites were treated and had certain privileges very differently. Whites had a drinking fountain and blacks had a drinking fountain. They weren’t allowed to drink from a white fountain if they were black, but the whites could drink anywhere they wish. If a black drank out of a white fountain, they would probably get yelled at and maybe go to jail. Everything had a sign on it: Whites, Blacks.
Usually the whites fountain was nicer and cleaner, and blacks were dirty, ugly.
There wasn’t just restrictions on drinking fountain, but schools. They had separate schools for blacks. The blacks couldn’t learn in the same room as whites. If a black goes in a white school, they will get kicked out and punished. In the blacks schools, the teaching skills were very poor.
The teachers didn’t really care about the blacks kids. The school materials were probably second hand use and really old equipment.
Montgomery’s black community had old complaints about the mistreatment of blacks riding city buses. The white drivers treated blacks very mean and cursing at them. If the blacks rid the bus, they would have to sit in the back giving up seats to other white people. In 1950, Montgomery’s blacks talked about boycotting the buses to gain better treatment.
The Montgomery bus boycott lasted for a year before having a new attitude about blacks.
In December 1st, 1955, women from the NAACP got really brave and refused to give up her seat for a white passenger. Her name was Rosa Parks and she got arrested. After she got arrested, Edgar Nixon took a bus protest.
By this time Martin and his people are angry. So on August 1963, over 200,000 people marched with white and black to obtain civil rights.
Martin Luther King was the leader of the whole act. He wanted to see his people free and have all the rights as anybody else. They took their case to the Nations capital, where he had his big speech, “ I have a dream.”
So in two long lasting years, 1965, Linden Johnson signed the civil rights act and the voting acts. All the blacks got their freedom and they all sang, “Thank God I am free at last. Free at last!”
This emphasis on economic rights took king to Memphis, Tennessee to support striking black garbage workers in spring 1968.
When he did that, a sniper assassinated him there on April 4. When the news got out, everybody was angry. Big riots in more than 100 cities in the United States. In 1969, the sniper pleaded guilty and 99 years of prison. There was a big funeral after his death. On his gravestone, they wrote, “ I am free at last, thank God I am free at last!” .