“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” Good afternoon teachers and fellow students, A passionate leader, a world renown call rights activist, a man who changed America. This was Marin Luther King. King was born Into the home of Michael King Sir. And Alberta Williams King In Atlanta, Georgia on the 15th January 1929. Born originally as Michael King Jar. King adopted the name Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant leader. He was the second of the three children and lived a comfortable fife during his years as an infant.
Martin was first exposed to racism when a couple of classmates informed him they could no longer associate with him due to the color of his skin. Martin’s mother explained to him it was because of the segregated school systems but assured him was Just as good as everyone else. His baptism in May 1936, made little impression on him. As an adolescent King questioned religion and generally felt uncomfortable about it until he renewed his faith and took a bible class in Junior year. This led him to make the decision of becoming a priest in later years. King attended Booker T.
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Washington High school and was said to be a precocious student. Slipping ninth and eleventh grade, Martin entered Morehouse College at the age of fifteen In 1944. He earned a degree In sociology In 1 948 and enlisted at the Crower Theological Seminary in Chester. He prospered in his studies and was accepted into many prestigious colleges including Yale and Edinburgh for his doctoral work but enrolled in Boston university in 1951. Here he met and married Correct Scott in 1953. The pair had four children between them and during this time King completed his Ph. D. N 1 955 and become pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Some of his main achievements included the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The Birmingham Campaign and his notorious “l Have A Dream” speech. He also played a vital role In the establishment of the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the Voting Rights Act 1965. On December 1st 1955, Rosa Parks (a middle aged African American woman and active civil rights dissident) was arrested for refusing to give up her seat In the colored section of the Cleveland Avenue Bus for a white man.
That same night, the NAACP or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People came together with King to plan a boycott. Their aim was to get all laws segregating public transport in Montgomery, lifted. King was elected to lead the boycott because of his persuasive rhetoric skill, his strong family connections and very few enemies. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was 382 days of walking long distances to work, harassment and violence for Montgomery African American population.
The white community tried ending the boycott by other means. Churches and private homes were bombed including those of Nixon (the head of the NAACP) and King but after suffering huge financial losses and losing several lower court rulings, news came through that the Supreme Court had ruled In favor of Rosa Parks and all laws segregating public transport In Montgomery were removed. The boycott ended on the 21st of December 1956 and although it may have been a local victory for the black populace of Montgomery it American’s all over the US.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed in January 1957. Over sixty civil rights leaders from all over the South came together to form this group for the purpose of coordinating non-violent protests to promote civil rights reform. King was elected president of the CLC and figured the best place to start in giving African-Americans a voice was through including them in the voting process. In February 1958 the CLC sponsored more than 20 mass meetings in key southern cities to register black voters into the voting poll.
Inspired y the work of Mahatma Gandhi, King visited India in order to learn more about his non-violent tactics. The trip affected him deeply and upon his arrival he began devoting more and more time to the CLC and coaching protestors in Sandhog’s ways. One of the most remarkable achievements of the CLC was the Birmingham campaign. The Birmingham Campaign began in March 1963 when Fred Southwester (member of the CLC and representative for Birmingham), Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King set up camp in a motel room in one of Birmingham black neighborhoods.
The CLC began recruiting younger protestors. This method was dangerous but had major symbolic power as children represented the movement’s hope for the future. On the 3rd May King led almost one thousand students on a peaceful protest on Sixteenth Street, where they were met by Bull Connors and the police force armed with high pressure hoses and attack dogs. Anyone and everyone involved or bypassing were attacked. On the 1 lath June 1963 – John F Kennedy voiced his commitment to civil rights and soon after the Civil Rights Act was conceived in 1964.
On the 28th August 1963 – Martin Luther King Jar. Marched 200,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial where he presented his acclaimed “I Have a Dream” speech, spreading his hope to the audience that someday our world would be completely free of segregation and prejudice. That same year, King became the youngest man to receive a Nobel Peace prize at the age of thirty five. He donated $54,123 prize money to the furtherance of the civil rights movement. On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis,
Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was shot in the back and killed. Martin Luther King Jar. Was significant because had an enormous impact on race relations in the United States. To this day, he is one of the most widely known African-American leaders of his era. His life and work have been honored with a national holiday, schools and a memorial on Independence Mall in Washington, D. C. He was a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social Justice through nonviolent means and will forever be remembered. Thank.