One of the most Honorable and Praiseworthy qualities admired most about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , was that He was a Diplomatic Ambassador of Peace! Dr. King was a PEACEMAKER, and a strong man of FAITH, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE, BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES and VALUES! In His avid quest to fight for equality and justice he embraced non violence! Dr. Martin Luther King was a Baptist Minister born at noon in his family home on January 15,1929 in Atlanta Georgia. How ironic his Queen Anne style home was in what is known as the magnificent “Sweet Auburn District.” He was an avid and dedicated prominent leader in the “Civil Rights” movement! However it was because of his gallant efforts he was violently assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39. Dr. King fought long and tenaciously for the equal rights for people of Color! He wanted the same rights that were extended to Whites extended to all people! He was especially instrumental in ending legal segregation that plagued African Americans in the South. Dr. King led many powerful and peaceful demonstrations. For his many efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964!
Dr. King came from a ancestral lineage of Baptist Ministers. His father and his grandfather were ministers! They both became pastor’s in succession of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia! He was raised in a very comfortable, loving and stable middle class Christian home! He was a brilliant, well educated and gifted man! He excelled prolifically in his studies and skipped both the (9th) ninth and (12th) twelfth grades! He was admitted to the impressive Morehouse College at the early age of only (15) fifteen years old.
King was aware from a very early age of the obvious discrimination that existed against African Americans. There is an interesting little story of when he was only 6 years of age, his white playmate told him that they could no longer play together since they were now going to segregated schools! Before King’s going off to college, he first went to work on a tobacco farm in Connecticut. It is here he realized that the same discrimination was not apparent that he had experience in the South! He took note of the many activities that both whites, blacks, reds, yellows, browns and all colors shared. Here basically all Colors participated together! They went to worship together they could eat out publicly together, it was an eye opening experience!
King enthusiastically entered Morehouse College and initially his desire was to study medicine and law. However he became impressed with the marvelous oratorical skills of Benjamin Mays an activist, educated and intelligent man who was pursuing equal rights and racial equality! Mays had made and indelible impression upon his father, Martin Luther Sr. The young budding Martin remained impressed as well. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1948! King then attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. King early on had a charismatic personality and was elected student body president of the predominately white student body. He eventually earned his Bachelor’s of Divinity in 1951. King then went on to Boston University, it is here he earned a Doctorate! Here in Boston is where he met the love of his life Coretta Scott. She was studying at the New England conservatory of Music. They married in a beautiful lawn ceremony at her family’s home! The ceremony was officiated by Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., his father in 1953. From their beautiful union was born 4 wonderful children!
Of the many protests that was led by King it was the infamous Montgomery Alabama bus boycott that received acclaimed nationwide attention. Here the lovely intelligent Rosa Parks a hard working gentle natured Black woman who was tired after a long honest day at work, as an excellent and skilled seamstress decided not to give up her seat to a white passenger. Mrs. Parks was in turn arrested under the segregation laws. A concerted effort was made by the Activists they strategically planned and implemented a strategic and successful peaceful bus boycott. There were numerous marches and “sit ins”…
It was on his way to support a group of sanitation workers in Memphis,Tennessee that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated! Senator Edward Kennedy chartered a plane to bring Dr. King’s body home to Atlanta! At least (30) thirty buses and (100) one hundred planes were used to bring mourners for his “Homegoing Celebration” Sympathy was poured out from all over the world! The night before King had delivered a most prophetic message! He made this statement: ““I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” It was the very next day while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel, he was killed by a sniper’s bullet! King’s loyal supporters throughout America were quite upset and 100+ riots ensued in various cities across the country! After much uproar and ongoing media attention! His white assassin James Earl Ray pleaded guilty, was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison. He later attempted to recant his confession of guilt and said that he was coerced by his attorneys. Ray held to the stance it was a conspiracy! Dr. King’s family came to his aid and support of Ray’s defense and embraced him. Ray died before he could be acquitted. Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow made this statement upon Ray’s death; “America will never have the benefit of Mr. Ray’s trial, which would have produced new revelations about the assassination…as well as establish the facts concerning Mr. Ray’s innocence.”
Dr. Martin Luther King has been compared and contrasted to some of the greatest! To name a few; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. The fact remains that he was martyred has further served to keep his memory alive. His legacy lives on in the hearts of many as well as in the history of America’s historical corridors and the world at large. His legacy has a life of its own!
It was after his death that he was accredited with an overwhelming international status. There are roads, highways, buildings, schools and institutions named in his honor throughout the United States. In 1986 he was honored with a national Holiday celebrated on the 3rd Monday in January. In 1991 the Lorraine Hotel where he was assassinated became a Museum. In London they have a sculpture of him over the door to the west front at West Minister Abbey in his honor. Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” oratorical famous speech is well remembered and often quoted by many universally! Excerpt from this speech: “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Dr. King was a wonderful inspiring man of God whose voice in the midst of the prevalent and tumultuous prejudice harnessing America opened the pathway to equality for all colors! His eloquence, charismatic style, self sacrificing, courageous and arduous commitment will forever be ingrained in the chronicles of America’s History as well as the hearts of many! King lived under the microscope of the Federal Bureau of Investigation the ongoing surveillance was spearheaded under J. Edgar Hoover. Many unfounded allegations were made to undermine his credibility. But none of them could serve to tarnish his incredible, impeccable, accomplishments as a committed man of God and strong ardent peaceful contributions as a Civil Rights Activist. Nor his infamous merited accomplishment of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo Norway! Upon His acceptance he stated “I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind,”said King in his acceptance speech. “I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him.
Indeed there is so much more that could be said about this dedicated man of God; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr… Yet, I close here with another memorable excerpt from “ I Have A Dream!”
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”