Nearly three centuries ago, African slaves were brought to the New World and put
into slavery. They were treated more cruelly in the United States than in any
other country that had ever practiced slavery, and ever since its prohibition,
African-Americans have fought oppression. Martin Luther King Jr., would aid
immensely in this fight. He was born in Atlanta Georgia in 1929.
Martin Luther King Sr. Was a Baptist minister and also preached for civil rights.
By the time he was 17 he had decided to follow his fathers footsteps, so he
himself was ordained as a minister. After his graduation from the Crozer
Theological Seminary, when he began postgraduate work at Boston University, he
studied the works of Indian nationalist Mohandas Gandhi, from whom he derived
his own philosophy of nonviolent protest. He moved to Alabama to become pastor
for a Baptist church. Just after he received his Ph.
D. in 1955, King was asked
to lead a bus boycott in Montgomery. It had been formed after Rosa Parks was
arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger. Throughout the 381
days which the boycott lasted, he was arrested and jailed, repeatedly threatened,
and his home was bombed. The boycott ended later that year when the Supreme
Court outlawed segregation in public transportation. This was his first victory
and alone made Dr.
King a highly respected leader. When he went to India in 1959,
he studied Gandhi’s principle of “Satyagraha” or nonviolent persuasion, which he
planned to use for his social protests. In the following year he decided to move
back to Atlanta to become copastor with his father. In 1963 he was back in
Birmingham, Alabama, where he led a massive civil rights campaign, organizing
drives for black voter registration, desegregation, and better education
throughout the South. During that time he led the unforgettable March on
Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech to millions of
viewers across the nation. The next year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
He went on to launching his first major northern campaign in Chicago. Black
Baptists were there opposing him, and a mob of club carrying Ku Klux Klan
members and Neo-Nazis met his marchers. With all that he had said and done, on
April 3, 1983 he said “I have been to the mountain top and seen the promise
land.” This was the day prior to his demise. Sadly, the following day he was
shot to death in Memphis Tennessee. Nearly 500,000 of his loyal admirers
attended his funeral.
It was the end of his civil rights crusade. “A man who won’
t die for something is not fit to live” he had once said. That day he died for
civil rights, he died for his dream. Prejudices have always and will always
exist among people. The prejudices this nation faces now, and has faced for
years is racial oppression and segregation. Martin Luther King had a dream.
didn’t want people to be “judged by the color of their skin, but the content of
their character.” He was determined that the dream would become a reality, and
in most ways it did. The rights of the people are now equal. Any person,
regardless of his race can do anything. No longer is the African-American
community limited in their rights or segregated from society. We have all grown
closer to racial unity.
Despite all of this, racism remains in the minds of
people, and hate crimes as well as white supremacist organizations still exist.
If racism itself is ever eliminated, it will only fade away with time, being
replaced by another prejudice belittling a part of society. Prejudices have
proven to be inevitable in human society and will continue until the end of time.
Martin Luther King Jr. played a major part in today’s problem, and will have an
impact on what is to come.