Martin had many influences throughout his life, many of which would shape his rhetoric, and the way he handled himself and those around him. Martin’s influences could be traced back to three things: his parents and home life, his education, and then his own personal experiences with racism. These three topics shaped Martin and his views on racism, and they were also what made him the most respected and the most admired Civil Rights Leader of his time. Martin’s Parents and Home Life
Martin Luther King Jr. stood for many things; non-violence, love, equality, peace, all of which could be used to define his perfect community, his perfect world. Martin believed all of these things could be achieved with persistence and the right frame of mind. And from the numerous Civil Rights achievements Martin made throughout the course of his life, it was clear that his philosophy and his beliefs really were true to the very last detail. Martin wasn’t however, born with these beliefs, or his leadership abilities. Martin was a thinking man, but most importantly, He was a by-product of his surrounding environment. Martin’s early life could be considered normal by some given the time era, but being looked down upon because the color of your skin is something you would never like to get used to. Martin was born on January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia into the prominent black middle class family of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Christine Williams, and was the second child and first son of the couple. Martin’s early life consisted of being surrounded by two Baptists Ministers (‘Daddy King’ and his grandfather, Alfred Daniel Williams) on a regular basis, along with living in a very moral based household. Martin Luther King Sr. was as strong in his will as he was in his body. He had a dynamic personality, and his very physical presence (weighing about 220 pounds) commanded attention. He had always been a very strong and self-confident person. Martin would always say that he had never met a person more fearless and courageous person than his father. As a sharecropper's son, Martin Sr. had met brutalities firsthand, and had begun to strike back at an early age. Martin’s father’s family lived in a little town named Stockbridge, Georgia, about eighteen miles from Atlanta. One day, while working on the plantation, he [Martin’s father] keenly observed that the boss was cheating his father [Martin’s Grandfather] out of some hard-earned money. He revealed this to his father right in the presence of the plantation owner. After that happened, the boss angrily and furiously shouted, "Jim, if you don't keep this nigger boy of yours in his place, I am going to slap him down." Martin Sr.’s grandfather, being almost totally dependent on the boss for economic security, urged him to keep quiet. Martin Sr., looking back over that experience, said at that moment he became determined to leave the farm. He often said humorously also, "I ain't going to plough a mule anymore." After a few months, he left Stockbridge and went to Atlanta determined to get an education. Although he was eighteen at the time—a year older than most finishing high school—he started out getting a high school education and did not stop until he had graduated from Atlanta's Morehouse College. The thing that it is said Martin admired the most about his father was his genuine Christian character. He was a man of real integrity, deeply committed to moral and ethical principles. He was conscientious in all of his undertakings. Even the person who disagrees with his frankness had to admit that his motives and actions are sincere. He never hesitated to tell the truth and always spoke his mind, no matter the time, nor circumstance. This quality of frankness had often caused many to fear Martin’s father. Martin Jr. had young and old alike say to him, "I'm scared to death of your dad." Without much explanation needed, it is easy to say Martin’s father...
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