A Comprehensive Record of Martin Luther King Legacy

January 06, 2022 8 min read

A Comprehensive Record of Martin Luther King Legacy

Martin Luther King was one of the most influential civil rights activists in American history. He has marked his name in the history of mankind as a man of exceptional charity and inspiration

He dedicated his life to making the wish of Freedom - Equality - Charity come true. Half a century has passed since this civil rights activist's death. Let's treasure the great legacies of Martin Luther King. 

Martin Luther King Biography 

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He is the eldest son of Pastor Martin Luther King Sr. 

Martin Luther King Jr. attended elementary school in Georgia then graduated from high school at the age of 15. King Jr was a smart boy who impressed his teachers with his efforts to expand his vocabulary and sharpen his speaking skills. He was also a loyal member of his father's church. However, as he grew older, he no longer cared much about following in his father's footsteps. 

In 1948, he received a BA from Morehouse College (a school exclusively for blacks). He then went to Chester-Pennsylvania to study at the Crozer Theological Institute and graduated with a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1951. After being rejected by the Yale School of Theology, King attended Boston University and was accepted Doctorate in Systematic Theology in 1955. 

Fotograaf Onbekend / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Before receiving his doctorate, in 1954 King became a Baptist pastor, taking the position of pastor of the church on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama. This was the cradle of campaigns for the civil rights movement throughout the United States. 

During his school years in Boston, Martin Luther King met and married Miss Coretta Scott on June 18, 1952. She, after King's assassination, followed in his footsteps to become an activist fighting for civil rights and social justice. 

Martin Luther King Legacy 

Montgomery Boycott: The beginning of A Legend 

The spark of the human rights movement in the United States was sparked by the events of December 1, 1955, in the city of Montgomery, when an African-American woman named Rosa Park was arrested for refusing to make room for a white man riding on buses as required by the Jim Crow Act. This is a discriminatory or permissive act against African Americans approved by the United States Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 – allowed local governments to repress plans to disenfranchise Southern states, deny economic opportunities, or national resources, cover up acts of individual violence towards African American. 

On December 5, 1955, a plan of "civil disobedience" to boycott buses was launched by E.D. Nixon - the head of the NAACP (which was later led by the Pastor King. ED Nixon asked King to join the boycott and hold boycott meetings at his church. King hesitated, seeking advice from his friend Ralph Abernathy before agreeing. That deal made King the leader of the civil rights movement. 

Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On December 5, the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization that led the boycott, elected King as president. The encounters of Montgomery's African-American citizens saw the full development of King's skills. The boycott lasted longer than many anticipated, as white Montgomery refused to negotiate. Montgomery's black community admirably withstood the pressure, organizing car parks and walking to work if needed. 

During the year of the boycott, King developed the ideas that formed the core of his philosophy of nonviolence. This ideology was, through silent and passive resistance, reveal to the public fellow whites see their own brutality and hatred. 

The boycott ended on December 20, 1956, after 381 days with many upheavals. During this time, Reverend King was arrested until the Supreme Court ruled that segregationist regulations on bus routes in the state were unconstitutional.

Associated Press, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

After his release, Pastor King actively worked for the plan to establish the Southern Association of Christian Leaders (SCLC) in mid-1957 with two goals. He wished to build a foundation of spiritual solidarity and establish a network among black churches to promote nonviolent resistance movements to fight for equality in civil rights. 

SCLC's nonviolent protests against the discriminatory system in the southern states of the United States under the name Jim Crow attracted community sympathy. Through press reports, television footage of the daily lives of black Southerners, rife with humiliation and deprivation, as well as violence and harassment, abuse and discrimination were all revealed. Using this powerful tool, Pastor King's struggle gained public attention and turned into a civil rights movement in the United States in the early 60s of the 20th century with the response of both people from various races. 

Letter from Birmingham Jail 

In the spring of 1963, King and SCLC took what they had learned and applied it in Birmingham, Ala. The sheriff there was Eugene "Bull" Connor, a violent reactionary who lacks Pritchett's political will. When the African-American community in Birmingham began organizing protests against discrimination, Connor's police force responded by spraying activists with high-pressure water hoses and releasing dogs. cop. 

It was during the protests in Birmingham that King was arrested for the 13th time since Montgomery. On April 12, King was sent to prison for protesting without a permit. While in prison, he read in the Birmingham News an open letter from white clerics urging civil rights opponents to stand down and be patient. 

King's response was called "Letters from Birmingham Jail," a powerful essay defending the ethics of civil rights activism. He was responding to white clerics, who posted a statement in Birmingham News, criticizing King and other civil rights activists for their impatience. Pursuing discrimination in the courts, white clerics called for, but did not organize, "protests that were unwise and ill-timed." 

8 - Civil Rights Movement by U.S. Embassy The Hague is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

King wrote that the Negroes of Birmingham had no choice but to protest the injustices they were suffering. He was dismayed by the inaction of moderate whites. 

"I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the great black stumbling block to freedom is not the Commissioner. The Council of White Citizens or the Ku Klux Klanner, which is a moderate white man who is more dedicated to 'ordering' than to justice." 

His letter was a powerful defense of the nonviolence act directly against oppressive laws. 

King emerged from Birmingham prison determined to win the war there. SCLC and King made the difficult decision to allow high school students to join the protest. Images of peacetime youth brutally destroyed shocked white America leading to the decisive victory. 

I Have a Dream Speech: Martin Luther King Most Precious Legacy 

To bring the civil rights movement to its climax, Reverend King on behalf of SCLC joined forces with the leaders of five other civil rights advocacy organizations (at the time known as the Big Six) including the NAACP, Urban League, The Brother of Sleeping Car Porters, SNCC and CORE discuss plans to hold the For Jobs and Freedoms Parade in Washington in August 1963. 

The greatest achievement of the march was that it created a favorable context for Congress and the Federal Government to recognize the demands of black Americans such as the right to vote, equal treatment, and other civil rights. This motivated the pass of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

Center for Jewish History, NYC, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

King's speech at the Jobs and Freedoms march in Washington on August 28, 1963, shocked the world. The march was planned to call for support for a civil rights bill, although President Kennedy was skeptical of the march. Kennedy subtly suggested that the thousands of African-Americans gathering in D.C. might hurt the bill's chances of getting through Congress, but the civil rights movement still reserved the march, even though they agreed to avoid any language that would turn the march into a riot. 

It was at this parade that Reverend King led the crowd to emotional heights when he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Along with President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, "I Have a Dream" is considered one of the most beloved and most quoted speeches in American history. The speech went down in history and made Pastor King's name known around the world. 

Rowland Scherman , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

"Now is the time to fulfill the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunny path of justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick-sands of racial injustice against the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. " 

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his achievements in leading the protest movement to fight to end racial prejudice in the United States. 

Last Legacies of Martin Luther King 

During his years of struggle, Pastor King wrote and traveled extensively to speak, drawing on his long experience as a preacher. He was an important and pivotal driver of major changes in the social and political factors of the United States in the decades during his lifetime and after his assassination. On March 7, 1965, Pastor King's legacy was recognized by President Lyndon B.Johnson at the White House. The two sides exchanged views on the need to build solidarity between ethnic communities, in which the spirit of equality between ethnic groups is widely promoted to reduce the difference gap. 

Hugo van Gelderen / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

After successful campaigns in Southern states, Pastor King and Civil Rights Advocacy Organizations attempted to expand the movement to Northern states. The city of Chicago was considered the first rendezvous. Here, in conjunction with the CCCO (Coordinating Council of Community Organizations) founded by Pastor Albert Raby, Pastor King organized many parades. However, these marches were met with some minor violence, so King and his associates returned to the South and gave leadership to Jesse Jackson, a college student to be in charge. 

During the campaign for civil rights for black Americans, Pastor King also began to express his views on the war in Vietnam. On April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church, Pastor King gave a talk strongly criticizing the role of the US in Vietnam. He said that this war had weakened the civil rights movement and undermined social programs in the country. 

Center for Jewish History, NYC, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

Since 1968, Pastor King and SLCL expanded the "Campaign for the Poor". At the end of March 1968, Pastor King went to Memphis, Tennessee to support black workers at the Public Sanitation Department who were protesting for higher wages and improved living conditions. On April 3, 1968, Reverend King returned to Memphis to speak to a crowd. The flight was later delayed because of a bomb threat. And at the end of his talk that day, Martin Luther King mentioned the bomb threat as a prophecy of his own death. 

At 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, on the balcony of room 306 of the Lorraine-Memphis hotel, Tennessee, Martin Luther King was assassinated by a gunshot. At 19:5 on the same day, Martin Luther King died at the age of 39. The news of Pastor King's assassination caused a terrible shock in American and world public opinion. Five days later, on April 9, 1968, President Johnson declared a National Day of Mourning. 

Final Thoughts 

King is not perfect. He will be the first to admit this. But King was able to overcome his all-too-human weaknesses and lead African-Americans, and all Americans, to a better future. 

During his civil rights career, King painfully realized that some white Americans wanted to see him destroyed or even dead. Even so, he accepted the burden of leadership at the age of 26. 

During a 12-year struggle, Martin Luther King's legacy changed the minds of all the following generations. His fighting for civil rights and then against poverty changed America in profound ways and made King "the nation's moral leader."


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