Martin Luther King A Dream for an Integrated Future for all
There’s hardly anyone that has not heard of Martin Luther King, who is regarded all over the world as the person who fought for black equality and was actively involved in the civil rights movement. But was he considered a great leader by one and all? Some would say “Yes, of course” “isn’t it a testament to his greatness that most major cities in America have a street or institution named after him?” Or, is it? If you were to take a closer look, you’re bound to realize that all these streets and buildings are located in black neighborhoods. King has undoubtedly achieved much more than he is given credit for and its very sad that so many Americans have no real sense of the magnitude of his victory over segregation that not only gave freedom to the blacks; but also enabled America to be liberated as a “free country” that up to then had to bear the brunt of being called a “racist nation”.
After all, if not for lifting the ban on segregation, would America be any different from a South Africa under apartheid? How different would it have been if Americans were still being branded as racists and thought to be no better than Russia or China that had their own type of oppression against their countrymen?
King’s non violent campaign for integration
On could say that Martin Luther King was born into the civil rights movement on 15th January 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia; with both his father and grandfather who were preachers being already involved in it. After graduating from Morehouse College in 1948, King too entered the Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania which was where he heard about Mahatma Gandhi and his non violent campaign against the British rule in India. Soon enough King became a Gandhi fan and read several books on the great man and was convinced this was the only way to obtain civil rights for blacks in America. After King married Coretta Scott, he became the pastor of a Baptist church in Montgomery Alabama where segregation was at its highest and black men and women couldn’t even travel in the same bus with white people. There are some simple incidents in life that have deep consequences and the Rose Parks case can be called one such. It was on 1st December 1955 that Rosa Parks, a middle aged woman got into a bus reserved for whites and refused to give up the seat to a white man. This led to her arrest which was the catalyst for organized protests by King and his friends against bus segregation. For thirteen long months around seventeen thousand black people in Montgomery walked to work. The loss of revenue for the Bus Company was enormous and this together with a ruling from the Supreme Court allowing integration in buses ended the protest on December, 20, 1956.
King’s Dream is about to come true
It was after Martin Luther King’s visit to India in 1957 that King was determined to use the Gandhian principle of non violent protests. King with many of his friends of like mind formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that made their motto "Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed." Soon enough King’s non-violent method was taken up by black students all over the south and was able to successfully put an end to segregation in many areas.
When John F. Kennedy was campaigning for the presidency in 1960, he was all out for a new Civil rights Act but failed to bring forth the legislation within his first two years. This was mostly because of Hoover who had nothing good to say about King and his activities and tried to convince Kennedy that King was a Marxist. It was while Kennedy’s Civil rights bill was being argued about in Congress that Kennedy was assassinated and the next President, Lyndon B. Johnson took up the case. This was in 1964, and surprisingly, he managed to get the Bill passed.
A Man of extraordinary courage and faith in God
Martin Luther King was no ordinary man. He had extraordinary courage and never swayed from the path he had taken. He was a charismatic speaker who spoke in biblical verses and found inspiration in both the old and New Testament and the gospels of Jesus Christ. He spoke from his heart and his sincerity was absolute. He never feared for his life even though he must have faced hundreds of death threats. He was hounded by Edgar Hoover who hated him and was diabolical enough to force him to commit suicide after King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. His March to Washington held on 28th August 1963 attracted more than 400,000 people and it was here he made his final and now legendary speech “I have a Dream” that was heard around the world. He was shot dead on 4th April 1968 and his death caused riots in many cities. James Earl Ray was found guilty and sentenced to 99 years in jail. But was he truly the killer? There are many unanswered questions but one thing we know for sure is that Martin Luther King’s dream did finally come true.