Have you ever dreamt of jumping in a pool of chocolates, or visit a candy land, or live in a home with lots and lots of teddy bears or dreamt of living like a king of Lego empire and all the Legos working to your command?
Today I will tell you about a man who dreamt of a world where all the people are treated equally. His name is Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. Martin was preacher and human rights activist. He fought for the equality of the African-American people, and is considered one of the greatest champions of Non-violence. His success is an inspirational story, and I am sure you would love to hear that.
Martin Luther King was born on 15th January 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. Martin’s name at birth was Michael King. His father Michael King was a pastor and mother was Alberta King
Michael’s father, also named Michael, changed both their names to Martin Luther, as he was influenced by the world-renowned German activist Martin Luther. Martin had an elder sister, Willie and a younger brother Alfred. He studied at the Booker T Washington High school. He was an intelligent student, and was allowed to skip the 9th and 12th grades. So, he was allowed to attend the college just at the age of 15. Martin graduated from Morehouse College in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. Sociology is the study of human societies or groups and their behaviour.
In Morehouse, Martin studied about Henry David Thoreau. King, and he was inspired by Henry’s idea of Civil Disobedience.
To understand about civil disobedience let’s break up the word to understand better, civil means people, disobedience means – not follow the government laws- so in civil disobedience, people do not follow the government laws and do peaceful protests- NO Violence
So, Martin believed in civil disobedience just as Mahatma Gandhi did. Martin won a fellowship and went to Boston University, where he completed doctorate in Theology in the year 1955. By then Martin was already inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
Martin is considered as one of the most influential speakers in the history. During his doctorate, Martin used his education, learnings and his natural speaking abilities to form the basis of the human rights movement. While in Boston, Martin met Coretta Scott who was attending the New England Conservatory of Music nearby. They were married on June 18th 1953. Martin and Coretta became the parents of 4 children.
On December 1st 1955, Rosa Parks, an African-American, was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white person on a crowded bus in Montgomery, Alabama. After this incident, Martin and other activists planned a city-wide protest, that would be known as the Montgomery bus boycott. Boycott means not buying or not using. So, in the Montgomery bus boycott, that lasted for 380 days, people refused to ride on city buses in Montgomery. This was the first protest led by Martin Luther King, and he was arrested by the police. But the boycott was a success, and more and more people became a part of Martin’s movement.
Later, the US supreme court said that inequality of any type should not be practised during transportation. This law made Martin a national figure, he was being heard by the people and had earned many followers in his fight for inequality.
In January 1957, Martin and a group of people formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference or SCLC. SCLC conducted non-violence protests and demonstrations to promote human rights and equality for all. In 1963, the SCLC organized a protest against inequality in Birmingham, in the south-eastern state of Alabama. The African Americans of Birmingham, faced a lot of inequality in those days, so the protest shook everyone.
Martin was again arrested and put to jail during the protest. During his time in the jail, Martin wrote, “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, which became famous later. Later in the same year, Martin was the most important figure of The March on Washington”, a movement for jobs and freedom, which was another step of his fight against inequality.
On 28th August 1963, over 250,000 people of all races gathered in Washington DC, to raise their voice against inequality. It was here that Martin made his famous and Inspirational, “I Have A Dream Speech”.
The speech was about the America where people would be respected equally, irrespective of their races. Martin was later named Time Magazine’s man of the year. BY then he had become one of the most influential change leaders in the history of America.
Martin received the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 1964, at the age of 35. He was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Prize at that time. And you know he gave away the prize money, which was over 54,000 dollars to help continue the important work of Human Rights movement.
Finally in 1964, congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the Act made inequality illegal, which means all people should be treated equally, irrespective of their races.
Over the next few years Martin worked to get the African -American, the right to vote. And later he led peaceful movements for International peace and economic equality, at various states in America.
On April 4, 1968, Martin was shot while standing on the balcony, outside his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39 years old.
Dr. Martin Luther King worked tirelessly to ensure that all people regardless of race, religion or national origin had equal opportunities and could live their lives without fear of violence and discrimination. In 1983, President Ronald Regan, declared the 3rd Monday of January each year as a Holiday to honour Martin. It is called the Martin Luther King Junior day, or MLK Day.
So, friends, Martin Luther King had a dream and he fought continuously to make his dream come true. Do you have a dream? If yes, do write to us about your dream in the comment box. And if you want to know more about Martin Luther King, then visit our website www.makemegenius.com, to find facts quiz, essay and quotes on Martin Luther King.