King's Life: an Example of Courage
Just at the beginning of year 1929, the beginning of a dream was born. Michael Luther King Jr. arrived to this world January 15, 1929, into a family that had a tradition of pastors. His parents were Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King.
He attended segregated schools, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen, later of which he received a B.A degree in sociology from Morehouse College, a prestigious African American institution, and a B.D (bachelor of divinity) after three years of studies at Crozer Theological Seminary. At Crozer, he heard a preaching of Mahatma Gandhi’s life and works, and he started further research on the subject.
King moved to Alabama, where in 1953 he married Coretta Scott King, a young woman with many successes in the artistic and intellectual world. A year later he is appointed as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. A year later his first daughter, Yolanda, was born.
When in 1954 Mrs. Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white young man, starting a polemic case, Martin Luther King was among the leaders trying to change the discriminative situation for black people in the U.S. Four days after Mrs. Parks’ arrest, a group of men started the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott, and King was chosen president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. Here a real war for justice would start for King.
1956 was a difficult year for him and his family: he was arrested on false charges, a bomb was put in his onto his porch, and he was indicted for being part of a “conspiracy against a business without just or legal cause” referring to Montgomery Bus Boycott. Among all these, King found time to put an accusation calling segregation in buses unconstitutional and achieving to make buses common for all citizens.
The battle continues
1957 was better: King gave several speeches, was featured at the cover of the Times and met important political personnel, still fighting for desegregation. In the same year, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was founded and a son, Martin, added to the family. However, not everything was peaches and cream, because a second bomb was found at his home. In 1958 a new attempt of murder, this time by stabbing, is made against him.
The following years were a mixture of attainments and frustration. Though some advances were made in matters of segregation, King was arrested many times over different accusations, two of them referring to illegal protests.
Between 1961 and 1963 two more children add to the family: Dexter Scott and Bernice Albertine.
In 1963, Martin Luther King is arrested again for leading a demonstration against segregation in eating facilities in Alabama. While imprisoned, he writes the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. About a month later, an order is made to use dogs and fire against protestors in Alabama. Luckily, few weeks later the Supreme Court declares this order and other segregation laws in Alabama unconstitutional.
While laws are made to stop discrimination against black people, detractors turn more and more violent. Four girls are killed during bombings to Birmingham Church in Alabama and riots start at some parts of the country. However, King starts getting recognition all around the world: in 1964 he had an audience with Pope Paul VI, and three months later he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1965, approaching to the approval of voting rights for black people, several supporters of SCLC and other movements for desegregation are killed. The situation starts getting tense, but anyway President Johnson signs the Voting Rights. The amount of black voters is amazing. It seems King got what he wanted. It seems King achieved justice.
The end of a dream, and its trail
In 1968, while speaking from his balcony, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. He died the same day at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Eighteen years later, in 1986, America recognizes his amazing contribution to the country by declaring that every third Monday of January will be a public holiday in honor of Martin Luther King.
Finally, in 1999, Loyd Jowers, as well as governmental agencies such as the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee and the federal government, part of the conspiracy against the life of King.