If I help a single person to have hope, I will not have lived in vainMartin Luther King Jr.
On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan decreed the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. The first states applied it in 1986 and as of January 17, 2000, it is officially celebrated in the 50 states of the country. It is thus marked by the anniversary of his birth and by the legal procedure of non-working days, it is celebrated on the third Monday of January of each year.
Talking about this revolutionary hero, his vision and commitment to the rights of social integration and respect for human diversity, requires extensive pages. His message is still valid and when rereading his teachings, we find the pending tasks on social equality that he left as a legacy.
On January 15, 1929, the son of Baptist pastor Michael King saw the light for the first time in Atlanta. He was baptized with the name of Michael King Jr., who would follow in his father’s footsteps as a representative of the Church and a social activist. After a trip to Germany in 1934, he decided to change his name and that of his son in honor of the author of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther.
Martin Luther King Jr. stood out as a child for his brilliant intelligence and social intuition. At the age of 15, he entered Morehouse University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and from the Pennsylvania Theological Seminary where he began his preparation as a pastor of the Baptist Church and later completed a Doctorate in Theology at Boston University in 1955. Dr. King married Coretta Scott in 1953 and they had four children.
Upon being appointed pastor of the Baptist Church, he took advantage of his presence in the pulpit to influence the population, enhance self-esteem, human values and contribute to the causes that concerned the Afro-descendant population in the United States, victims of terrible injustices such as segregation. and discrimination. All their actions sought a solution through demonstrations, actions, and speeches whose fundamental principle was “non-violence”.
Since he was a child he had experienced actions against him and derogatory remarks because of his skin color, so he tempered his character and undertook actions to transform discrimination peacefully without falling into provocations. Managing his own anger and speeches, always well supported by his admirable gift of oratory, were his main tools for the social movement.
In 1955 he participated in the bus boycott in the city of Montgomery in support of activist Rosa Parks who was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. The Afro-descendant population received this and other unfair humiliations and therefore for a month they resisted using the city’s buses, this caused an economic crisis in the transportation sector. There was the arrest of the demonstrators and Dr. King did not resist, he appealed peacefully and with dignity to the instances of the law for his release. However, the excessive violence against the Afro-American population did not subside due to these events.
Being the leader of various organizations for civil rights with a pacifist philosophy, his actions stood out in important marches that ended in meetings to listen to public speeches, such as the one that occurred in Washington in 1963, where it was intended to influence the government to legalize labor rights and the right to vote of the population that had been denied this privilege. Dr. King gave his famous speech “I have a dream” (I have a dream), in which he shared his vision of a free and integrated society without distinctions based on the physical characteristics of people and extolling their moral and civic values, with equal rights.
Thanks to this social mobilization, the largest in the history of which there was news, it was achieved that a part of the rights claimed by the movement was approved with the promulgation of the Civil Rights Law of 1964 The Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Dr. King’s effective oratory was sustained by the presence of the media and the fact that both the mobilizations and the frequent acts of repression by segregationists and the excessive use of violence by the National Guard and the local police will be presented through television programs and this caused national outrage and had a global impact.
Martin Luther King’s temperance was recognized and in 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Thus he was also persecuted, slandered, and accused of being an enemy of the democratic nation. His actions and frontal activism in various cities such as Birmingham, Selma, and Chicago continued with great energy, as his political influence began to be notable and threatening at the same time for the government that was slowly granting rights to a population that had been historically enslaved, discriminated against and persecuted.
The concept of “Black Power” was born in the years of Dr. King’s activism. He said that the Afro-descendant population should accept themselves with dignity, prevent harassment against them and never be ashamed of who they were. He talked about working with pride and with the best and noblest effort.
His social causes extended to the protest against the Vietnam War and in a call to eliminate human poverty, he radicalized his speech. He denounced the US occupation of various countries and called it “the biggest purveyor of violence in the world today” and never focused on projects to alleviate world poverty. It inflamed the spirits and was heavily criticized by the press.
Very interesting were his intentions to establish alliances with other spiritual leaders, he spoke of a true ecumenical communion in order to establish communication links and get to know each other to achieve the true integration of practitioners of various religions. His vision, without a doubt, was very advanced for his time.
It is possible that he had a premonition of his untimely death. In 1967, in a speech, he said that he would like to live longer to complete the cause he had started, that God had allowed him to climb to the top of a mountain from where he had a vision of the promised land of civil rights and therefore I no longer had any fear.
On April 4, 1968, he was assassinated on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. His last words are said to have been to the musician who was to play at an event he was attending that night, he said “Ben get ready to play Precious Lord, take my hand, play it most beautifully”. That same song was performed at his funeral.
Writer Taylor Branch, the author of the biography of Dr. King, said that after he died at age 39, doctors who performed his autopsy revealed that his heart resembled that of a 60-year-old man due to the stress he was under during his activism. 13 years old.
We know that the causes of Martin Luther King Jr. on respect for the diversity of humanity are still valid and it is necessary to eliminate the social injustice that affects all of us in one way or another. His entire life was a commitment to social causes. Today we remember with emotion one of the greatest heroes of the United States and the entire world, whose life is a source of inspiration and that at Del Pueblo Funeral Home we make the most difficult moments easy.