How Did Religion Influence Martin Luther King, Jr as He Led the Civil Rights Movement

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., African American, Coretta Scott King Pages: 6 (2449 words) Published: April 28, 2013
How did Religion Influence Martin Luther King, Jr as he led the Civil Rights Movement

What do you consider a leader? Is it someone who can lead a group of people with no trouble or is it simply someone with exquisite thinking skills? There is not an accurate definition explaining who or what a leader is because each is different. I feel that Martin Luther King Jr is a great example because he has the ability to inspire people, which led to a movement that forever changed America. This paper goes into detail of things accomplished by Martin Luther King Jr, which allowed him to be considered one of the most influential leaders of our time. Martin Luther King Jr was born January 15, 1929 to the name of Michael Luther King Jr, in Atlanta, Georgia. King came from a comfortable middle class family living on the street known as “African American wall street” for the first twelve years of his life. The first time he ever experienced a form of prejudice was at the age of six when one of his Caucasian playmates told him that his parents stated they could no longer be friends. One particular summer King spent time on a tobacco farm in Connecticut. That visit was the first time he had ever experienced race relations that did not involve the south. He was taken back at how the different races were involved in each other’s everyday life without problems. This experience gave King a glimpse of what life could be like. Being the son, grandson and great grandson of Baptist preachers had a significant influence on him, which allowed him to lead the country in a fight for what is right. Kings mother and grandmothers voice as caretakers is linked to his public ethical voice. His antipathy towards violence started at a significantly young age when his mother and grandmothers influence was the strongest. King entered Morehouse College at the age of 15 under a program created to boost enrollment. During time spent there, racism ran rampant. Colonized people of Africa and Asia spoke of the racism hypocrisy in the south and African American WWII veterans demanded equality. As a result at least six war veterans were killed in a three-week period. This incident made King and friends pondered if their ministry could even be constructed to fit their aspirations. By junior year, he finally followed example of his father, grandfather and great grandfather into ministry. Shortly after his first sermon, he was ordained and made Assistant Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. After graduating from Morehouse in 1948 King attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester Pennsylvania. Drawn to the school due to its reputation and theological learning it was here that strengthened his following of the social gospel and where he first studied the teachings of Gandhi, which developed his nonviolence method. Crozer was a nondenominational school although founded by Baptist. Being one out of eleven, other African American students made King extremely self-conscious. Through the years as he became more familiar, he relaxed after developing friendships. During his junior year, he was elected class president. Towards the end of his time at Crozer King read Moral Man and Immoral Society by Reinhold Niebuhr. “The experience did not change his plans, but it appears to have changed everything else, including his fundamental outlook on religion” (Branch, 81). Before reading Niebuhr, King had plans of pursing his doctorate “for reasons of pleasure, inertia, and prestige” (85), building on the personal fulfillment and recognition beyond his dreams that he had experienced at Crozer. He from then on decided that his life would be one of study so that he could find his own path. Reading Niebuhr had made King somewhat lose confidence in his ideas instead of the ones he inherited. After graduating in 1951, he then went to Boston University where he got his doctorate in 1955 and married his wife Mrs. Coretta Scott King. King accepted the role of pastor at Dexter Avenue...

References: Jackson, T. (2008). Becoming King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the making of a national leader. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky.
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