Martin Luther King is an activist known for his anti-violence and views of racial equality. In the USA, every January 15 is celebrated under the name “Martin Luther King Day”. Here is Martin Luther King’s famous speech “I Have a Dream” and the sequence of events that caused him to reach the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia – April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee) is an African-American Baptist pastor and leader of the American civil rights movement.
He is known worldwide for his anti-violence and racial equality views and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. In addition, in 1977, 9 years after his death, he was awarded the Presidential Freedom Prize by former US president Jimmy Carter, and Martin Luther King’s Day began to be celebrated in his honor. King’s most known and influential speech is “I Have a Dream”.
Martin was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Marthin Luther King and Alberta Williams King. According to the birth records of Martin Luther King Jr., his name was Michael when he was born. After high school he attended Marehouse College. Here he was influenced by Benjamin Mays, who was president and also a civil rights leader. He graduated from the Department of Sociology in 1948. He then graduated 1st from the Crozer College of Theology in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1951. He received his master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Boston University in 1955. King married Coretta Scott in 1953. King’s father held the wedding at the bride’s father’s house. King and Scott had 4 children: Yolanda Denise, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott and Bernice Albertine. All four of King’s children followed their father’s path and became civil rights activists. Coretta Scott died on January 30, 2006.
“Citizen rights activism“
King became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1953, when he was just 24 years old, his most important black church. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for disobeying this despite being required by Jim Crow law to give her place to a white man. Thereupon, King organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott lasted 382 days and the situation got so tense that King’s house was bombed. During this boycott, King was arrested. The boycott continued until the American Supreme Court declared racial discrimination in interstate buses and other means of transport illegal. After this boycott, King played an important role in the 1957 establishment of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which aimed to unite black churches and hold peaceful demonstrations for civil rights reform. King played an important role in this establishment until his death. King was a follower of the non-violent philosophy of civil disobedience practiced by Mahatma Gandhi, and this philosophy was applied by the SCLC in demonstrations.
The FBI began listening to King from 1961, fearing that communists were infiltrating the Civil Rights movement. However, no such evidence was found. The FBI used the records it had for 6 years to force King to leave the leadership position.
Being a pacifist, A.J. Muste advised Marthin Luther King in his political actions. King, well-organized, non-violent demonstrations against the apartheid system in the south, also known as Jim Crow laws, would receive great media attention. Indeed, the programs written by journalists and broadcast on television sparked great interest in the Civil Rights Movement and made it the most important issue in America in the 1960s.
King organized and organized demonstrations for black suffrage, end of discrimination, employee rights and other fundamental rights. All these rights became a part of American law with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“Walking to washington“
King is perhaps best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial during “Walk to Washington for Work and Freedom” in 1963.
“I have a dream that someday my four children will live in a country where they will be judged not by the color of their skin but by their personalities. »
“Martin Luther King”
“He” did not want the law of slavery
King, representing the SCLC, was among the leaders of civil rights organizations that were instrumental in organizing the event called “The Big Six”, March to Washington for Work and Freedom. Other organizations and individuals that made up the Big Six were: Ray Wilkins, NAACP; Whitney Young Jr., Urban League; Philip Randalph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; John Lewis, SCNC; James Farmer, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). For King, this was a controversial role, as King was one of those who agreed with John F. Kennedy’s wishes to change the focus of the march. Kennedy initially objected strongly to the march because he thought it would negatively affect the enactment of the law on citizens’ rights. But the organizers of the march were determined to continue the march.
The march was originally conceived as an opportunity for the deplorable blacks of the South and the march’s organizers to express their wishes and complaints openly in the country’s capital. The organizers were considering criticizing the inability of the federal government to ensure the rights and safety of blacks and civil rights workers living in the South. However, the group succumbed to the pressure and influence of the US president, and the demonstration used a much softer tone. As a result, some civic rights activists thought the demonstration presented a picture of racial cohesion free of false, unwanted portions. Malcolm X called the show “Farce on Washington”. However, the march made clear demands: an end to racial segregation in public schools, the enactment of a civil rights law, a prohibition of racial discrimination in the workplace, protection of civil rights activists from police violence, a minimum wage of $ 2 an hour. Despite the tensions, the march was quite successful. 250,000 people from different ethnic groups participated in the march. This event was by then the most crowded show in Washington history. King’s “I have a dream” speech excited the crowd even more. This speech is regarded as one of the best speeches in American history.
“US President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Martin Luther King, leader of the American civil rights movement seen behind him (July 2, 1964)“
King wrote and spoke many times during his tenure. His 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Prison” is a passionate demonstration of his pursuit of justice. He was awarded the Nobel Prize at the youngest age in 1964 for non-violent resistance to overthrow racial prejudice in the United States.
“Attitude towards compensation”
On several occasions, Martin Luther King has stated that black Americans should receive compensation for historical injustices. Speaking to Alex Haley in 1965, he said that it was not enough to provide black equality alone to close the economic gap between whites and blacks. King was not aiming to recover wages lost due to slavery, he thought it was impossible. King suggested that $ 50 billion worth of money be distributed to blacks within 10 years as part of a state compensation program. King realized that the benefits of this money, such as low crime rates, low dropout rates, reduced family disintegration, would yield much more financial returns than money spent on society. King elaborated on this idea in his 1964 book Why We Can’t Wait.
King and SCLC tried to organize a march from the city of Selma to the state capital, Montgomery, on March 25, 1965, with the partial participation of SCNC. The first trial on March 7 was canceled due to the violence of the opposing crowd and the police. This day has been called “Bloody Sunday” from that date. Bloody Sunday was a turning point in providing public support for the Civil Rights Movement. However, King was not present during the show. After meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson, King asked to postpone the show on 8 March. However, the march was continued by local civil rights workers against King’s will. The violence of the police against the demonstrators was broadcast widely and the footage caused great indignation in the society. The second attempt was made on March 9. King stopped the demonstrators at Edmund Petrus Bridge outside the city of Selma in this trial. King had previously negotiated this move with the city’s dignitaries. King’s unexpected move caused a surprise resentment among the local movement. The march exactly continued on 25 March and ended.
In 1966, after success in the South, King and other Citizen Rights Activists tried to spread this movement to the North. Their first goal was the city of Chicago. King and Ralph Abernaty, although both middle-class people, moved to the suburbs of Chicago to demonstrate their support for the poor and to be an educational experiment.
Their organizations The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Albert Raby, Jr. It collaborated with the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO), an organization founded by The Chicago Freedom Movement (CFM). That spring, black pair / white pair tests on real estate offices revealed the practice of “steering”, now banned by the Real Estate Industry. These tests revealed the fact that house claims were assessed based on race, couples with the same income, education, number of children, and other common traits were treated differently simply because of their race. The movement’s desire for radical change grew, and some major marches were planned and carried out. Some of these walks took place in the following locations: Bogan, Belmont-Cragin, Jefferson Park, Evergreen Park (a suburb of Chicago), Gage Park and Marquette Park, and others.
They were received worse in Chicago than they were in the South, as Abernaty later wrote. Their march came face to face with crowds throwing bottles and shouting, and they feared to cause a riot. King did not want to cause a violent incident due to his views, Therefore, if King doubted that the show would be violently suppressed, he would cancel the show for the safety of the others. But whatever happened, King successfully led the demonstrations despite death threats. The violence they faced in Chicago was so difficult to overcome that it affected the two friends.
Another problem was the hypocritical behavior of city managers. King and Abernaty had agreed on actions to be taken, but the agreements were destroyed by the corrupt political order set up by mayor Richerd J. Delay. Abernaty could not survive the slums for long and left after a while. King stayed a while longer and wrote emotional articles about Coretta and her children’s terrible living conditions.
When King and his allies returned to the south again, they brought a religious school student named Jesse Jackson to head their organization. Jackson demonstrated superior speaking skills and organized the first successful boycott against chain stores. One of these boycotts was organized against A&P Stores to agree to hire blacks as salespeople. This campaign was so successful that it laid the foundations for equal opportunity programs that started in the 1970s. Jackson also initiated the establishment of the first “black EXPO”, called Operation Breadbasket, under the auspices of SCLC. Operation Breadbasket later continued as Operation PUSH after leaving SCLC. The Black EXPO has evolved into the P.U.S.H Expo and has continued to help the longstanding and newly established Black Workplaces to show themselves. Some of these workplaces include: Johnson Publishing, Parker House Sausage, Seaway National Bank, and the P.U.S.H. Other companies owing to EXCEL.
Beginning in 1965, King began to express doubts about the US role in the Vietnam War. On April 4, 1967, at the New York City Riverside Church – exactly one year before he was murdered – King gave his speech titled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. In his speech, King spoke strongly against America’s role in the war, He stated that America was in Vietnam to “make it an American colony” and called the USA “today the world’s largest provider of violence”. But he also argued that the country needed a broader and broader moral change.
A real revolutionary change in moral values would be disturbing on the striking contrast between poverty and prosperity. This change will look on the other side of the sea with justified anger, and the capitalist individuals of the West She will see that she has invested large sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America just to make a profit, without taking into account the social development of those countries, and she will say: “This is not fair at all.
King had long been hated by the segregationists, but his speech turned the mainstream media against him. Time magazine described the speech as “a demagogic attack similar to that written for Radio Hanoi”. The Washington Post newspaper also stated that King’s case “reduced its usefulness for his country and people”. With regard to Vietnam, King stated that North Vietnam “did not send large volumes of troops and supplies until tens of thousands of American soldiers arrived” (Michael Lind, Vietnam: The Necessary War, 1999 p. 182). King also praised North Vietnam’s land reform. (Lind, 1999) King also accused the US of killing 1 million Vietnamese, mostly “children”. (Guenter Lewey, America in Vietnam, 1978 pp. 444–5)
This speech was a reflection of King’s evolving political stance. In a way, this evolution was caused by King’s ties to the progressive organization called the Highlander Research and Education Center and the education he received at that institution. King began to talk about the fundamental changes needed in the political and economic life of the country. Towards the end of his life, King began to express his anti-war views more often than the need to redistribute resources to correct economic and racial injustice. While he was careful not to be associated with communism by his political enemies in the public sphere, he mentioned his support for democratic socialism in private speeches.
You can’t talk about solving Negro economic problems without mentioning billions of dollars. You can’t talk of ending the slums without mentioning destroying the profits from the suburbs. But at that time, you have to deal with dangerous people in dangerous waters. You have to deal with industry leaders.
This means we are trying to hunt in dangerous waters because we say something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and perhaps America should move towards democratic socialism. (Frogmore, S.C. November 14, 1966. Speech before employees)
King read Marx while at Morehouse. But while he rejected “traditional capitalism,” he did not embrace Communism because of its “materialistic interpretation of history”, its rejection of religion, its “relative ethics” and “political oppression.”
On April 3, 1968, the King addressed an excited crowd listening to him at the Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Center) as if he knew what would happen to him (I went to the Mountaintop speech):
“It doesn’t matter what happens to me after this time. Some started talking about what could be done against me by some of our sick white brothers. Like everyone else, I want to live a long life. It is important to live long, but I am not interested in that right now. I just want to do God’s will.
And he gave me permission to climb this mountain. And I looked around and saw the Promised Land. I may not be able to go there with you. But tonight, I want you to know that we as the people will reach those Promised Lands. That’s why I’m happy tonight. I am not worried about anything. I’m not afraid of anyone. My eyes have seen the Glory of God’s coming! „
King died the next day as a result of his assassination.
“Death of Martin Luther King”
In March 1968, King traveled to Memphis to support black healthcare professionals. AFSCME Local 1733, representing black healthcare workers, had been on strike since March 12 and demanded higher wages and better treatment. For example, unlike white workers, when black workers were sent home due to bad weather, they were unpaid and paid less than whites.
On April 3, King spoke to a community in Memphis and delivered his speech titled “I’ve been to the Mountaintop”.
King was killed at 6 pm on April 4 in a shooting attack on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. When his friends in the motel room heard gunshots, he ran to the balcony and found King shot in the throat. At 7:04 am St. He died at Joseph’s Hospital. The assassination caused riots in more than 60 cities. Five days later, US President Lyndon B. Johnson declared mourning. On the same day, a crowd of 300,000 attended his funeral. Vice President Hubert Humphrey attended the funeral on behalf of the President. Two months after King’s murder, fugitive inmate James Earl Ray was caught at Heathrow Airport in England while trying to leave the UK on a fake passport. Ray was soon returned to the United States. Ray was charged with the murder of King and confessed to the assassination on March 10, 1969. (Ray came back from this confession 3 days later.) Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
Upon the suggestion of his attorney Parcy Foreman, Ray confessed to the guilt, thus avoiding the risk of a death sentence for a court conviction. But this did not prevent him from receiving a 99-year prison sentence.
Martin was not 39, he was 69 when he died, the doctor said, who underwent Martin’s autopsy!!!