Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – A hero in the fight for equality and justice
Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015
On Monday January 19, 2015 people and nations around the world will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the world’s heroes in the fight for equality and justice. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. He attended segregated public schools, graduating from high school at 15. He received his B.A. from Morehouse College, his Bachelor of Divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary, and his doctorate from Boston University in 1955.
In 1953, King married Coretta Scott, who was studying concert singing at the New England Conservatory of Music. They settled in Montgomery, Alabama, where King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. He had been there little more than a year when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white rider. King led the resulting boycott of Montgomery’s buses by the city’s Black residents, the nation’s first, major non-violent civil rights campaign. The 382-day boycott, and ultimate U.S. District Court ruling that segregation of the buses was unconstitutional, brought King to national prominence. The campaign also led to King’s arrest, to the bombing of his home, and to personal attacks; during his lifetime, King would be arrested more than 20 times and assaulted at least four times.
King persevered in his commitment to non-violence, serving as a founder and first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1957 until his death, King became an international leader in nonviolent campaigns for the rights of the oppressed. He made more than 2,500 speeches and led major demonstrations in the U.S. and abroad, traveling more than 6,000,000 miles. In 1963, King and other leaders headed a nation-wide March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The rally attracted more than 260,000 people from across the U.S., and King’s speech – I have a dream – was broadcast live on national television.
Parts of King’s dream came closer to fruition with the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the National Voting Rights Act of 1965. But continuing racial inequality was also a reality. When one voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, resulted in police beating and tear-gassing the marchers, King and the demonstrators marched twice more, reaching the state capitol on their third attempt.
In 1968, a campaign by Black public works employees drew King to Memphis, Tennessee. There, Martin Luther King, Jr., winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, was assassinated on April 4, 1968. President Lyndon declared April 7, 1968 a national day of mourning. Fifteen years later, Congress declared the third Monday of January a national holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Tomorrow, we will look at Troy’s celebration of this national day of recognition for one of America’s great leader’s achievements and ideals.
httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oehry1JC9Rk This is a link to a short video taken from Martin Luther King’s final speech.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.troyhistoricvillage/facebook. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org