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Martin Luther King Jr. History

To appreciate Martin Luther King Jr. history it is important to understand what this one man did to encourage respect for all races, ethnicities and colors within the United States. Martin Luther King Jr. is considered one of the most important figures in 20th century American history. He is called the father of the civil rights movement and his legacy continues to ripple within the American political and societal systems long after his death.

Martin Luther King Jr. History

Martin Luther King Jr. believed in standing up for the rights of all people without the use of violence. Marches and speeches he founded and participated in have earned their place in the history books as key events in the civil rights movement. In reviewing the life of Martin Luther King Jr., it is apparent that he was a man of great fortitude and honor who believed strongly that all people deserved to be treated with respect.

Martin Luther King Jr. History

Although the life of Martin Luther King, Jr was cut short by violence at the age of 39, his legacy still lives on to this very day. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, King grew up the son and grandson of Baptist preachers who were deeply involved in the civil rights movement.

At Morehouse College, King studied divinity in order to become a pastor like his father and grandfather. While studying at Morehouse, King became very interested in the non-violent teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. Dr. King applied many of the teachings he gathered from these men to his own beliefs on obtaining civil rights. King was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s use of nonviolent resistance in order to effect change in the world.

King was so influenced by Gandhi’s teachings that he visited his birthplace in 1959. In addition, one of King’s main advisors, Bayard Rustin studied Gandhi’s teachings diligently, and became instrumental in helping King remain committed to the nonviolence movement.

Non-Violence Movement

When reviewing Martin Luther King Jr. history, a key part of his legacy to focus on was his use of nonviolent resistance in order to effect change in the civil rights movement. While there were many groups that fought for equality, specifically for African-Americans, not all of them adopted the peaceful methods attributed to King’s work with racial equality.

Several specific events were used as catalysts by King in order to begin the process of addressing many issues related to discriminatory practices occurring against African-Americans at that time. When Rosa Parks decided not to give up her seat to a white man on a local bus and was arrested, these actions sparked outrage in the deep south of Montgomery, Alabama. King used this incident to begin one of the first nonviolent movements: the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

King would go on to head many important nonviolence movements, including the March on Washington that featured the famous “I Have a Dream” speech and the Poor People’s Campaign. Many people of all backgrounds, races and ethnicities participated with King in these movements to show their solidarity for the fight for equal rights for all people.

Continuing Legacy

Today, the Martin Luther King Jr. history continues to carry forth his mission of equal rights for all people. In, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a Bill to create a holiday in honor of Dr. King. This holiday was first observed in 1986, but it would not be officially observed in all fifty states until 2000.

King was the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his extensive work in equal rights and he is one of the few people to receive numerous honorary degrees from universities all over the world. In continuing with his legacy, King’s wife Coretta Scott King worked diligently for civil rights parts for all people including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community until her death in 2006. All four of Martin Luther King Jr.’s children became active civil rights activists like their father.