Martin Luther King, Jr.
You may have heard the name Martin Luther King, but
how much do you actually know about this great man? Well, he was a civil
rights activist in the 1950s and 60s, and he led non-violent protests to
fight for the rights of all people including African Americans. He was a
wonderful public speaker and he knew how to captivate and inspire an
audience. His advocated race equality and his passionate speeches still
inspire many to this day.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929 and went to Boston University to
get a doctor's degree in theology. His dad was a church preacher. He got
married in 1953 to Coretta Scott and they had four children together.
Following Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a
bus, Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his first
major civil rights action. Rosa Parks was arrested and spent the night
in jail. As a result, Martin helped to organize a boycott of the public
transportation system in Montgomery. The boycott lasted for over a year.
It was very tense at times. Martin was arrested and his house was bombed.
In the end, however, Martin prevailed and segregation on Montgomery
buses came to an end.
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to organize the famous "March on
Washington". Over 250,000 people attended this march in an effort to
show the importance of civil rights legislation. Some of the issues the
march hoped to accomplish included an end to segregation in public
schools, protection from police abuse, and to get laws passed that would
prevent discrimination in employment.
It was at this march where Martin gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. This
speech has become one of the most famous speeches in history. The March
on Washington was a great success. The Civil Rights Act was passed a
year later in 1964.
Sadly, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in
Memphis, Tennessee. He was shot while standing on the balcony of his
hotel. One of my favourite parts of his ‘I have a Dream’ speech is, “I
have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the
content of their character.”
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