Martin Luther King Jr. is a man who helped forage Civil Rights for African Americans and gain equality for all of humanity. It was with his non violent approach to protesting as well as his inspirational speeches that aided him in being awarded with the Nobel Peace prize in 1964. He in fact built a foundation for future protests and america to stand on. Although his life was ended too soon on April 4th 1968, he is still remembered for many things including helping to create the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 as well as the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to Michael King and Alberta Williams King. He was their middle child having both a brother and a sister. Born Michael King Jr. he later changed his name to Martin Luther King Jr. after his own father Michael King Sr. adopted the name in honor of German Protestant religious leader Martin Luther. Martin Luther King Sr. had taken over his father in law’s ministry as a pastor and succeeded in becoming a beloved minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Martin Luther King Jr. would take over for King Sr becoming a well respected and beloved minister himself.
In 1955 when Rosa Parks was thrown of the bus for refusing to move to the back, Martin Luther King Jr. was asked to head the protests that would follow boycotting the public bus system. He became the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He helped play a huge role in the ending of segregation of African Americans. Upon getting arrested at a protest he was taken to jail. While in the holding cell he penned notes down the side margin of the newspaper of his thoughts and plans to help the Civil Rights movement. That newspaper was copied and made into the book “Letters From Birmingham Jail” and is used as course material in college classes today. Next would be his famous speech “I have a dream” he gave at the protests at Lincoln Memorial. To this day still that speech is quoted and a well known part of history. Unfortunately while Martin Luther King Jr. had many followers and was respected by his community and honored as a minister, others strongly despised him. Because of this he was assassinated by fatal gunshot wound on the night of April 4th, 1968. While visiting the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee James Earl Gray shot him and then fled to London. He was later located and extradited back to the United States to be prosecuted. He was charged for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. on March 10, 1969 after he plead guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison which he later tried to appeal. He was never granted the appeal and dies in prison in at the age of 70.
Although Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life at a young age and for selfish reasons we still honor him and forever will for the non violent, courageous rights activist he was. He paved the way for all equality no matter your race. Civil Rights would not be what they are today without his work and devotion. Cheers to Martin Luther King Jr.!!