“I have a dream.” These immortal words opened the eyes of the world to the evils of segregation and bigotry. These words brought civil rights to the forefront and ultimately the man who spoke them was the driving force behind helping the movement achieve its goal of uniting all mankind in brotherhood. Here is the story of the shining gem of humanity, Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister. He was an exceptional student in school, skipping both the 9th and 12th grades. He became a Baptist minister due to the influence of Benjamin E Mays, the president of his alma mater, Morehouse College. This greatly impacted the rest of his life as he based his nonviolent approach to civil rights on his Christian beliefs as well as the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
However, King would be far more famous as a freedom fighter than as a minister. He started his civil rights journey with a protest for Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks was a black seamstress who refused to give up her seat in a whites only section of a bus. This sparked nationwide protest and kick started the civil rights movement. However, King had a far different approach than some of his peers in the movement who were willing to use violence to achieve their goals. According to King, the goal of the civil rights movement was not to destroy the white man, but to gain his understanding and love. Violence would prevent this understanding and would actually the lives of black citizens even worse than they already were.
To further the civil rights movement, King organized massive demonstrations, the most famous being the 1963 March On Washington with over 250,000 people marching. This is where he delivered his immortal “I Have A Dream” speech and rocked the world to its very core.
Through such demonstrations, King became a world-renowned figure and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. At the age of 35 he was the youngest ever recipient of any Nobel Prize at that point. When informed of his selection, he announced that he would use the 54,123$ prize money to further the civil rights movement. 1964 was also a landmark year for King as the civil rights movement won one of its biggest victories when Congress passed the “Civil Rights Act of 1964” which prohibited race discrimination in public places.
After this, King continued to campaign for further removal of segregation. However, his life was tragically ended when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray at a black garbage workers rally. With his death, the world lost a shining light leading the way to a world of unconditional acceptance and love. However, the impact of his life will never be lost. Through the power of his words and sheer force of will, Martin Luther King Jr. gave freedom to millions of lives, despite the fact that his life was ended so early showing that its not how long you live that matters but how you live that does.