Tennessee State University
Biography: Martin Luther King Jr.
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Martin Luther King Jr. lived in the United States of America from January 15 1929 until he met his untimely death through a tragic assassination. He is greatly reminisced among the black echelons as well as the American citizens with his legacy remaining a condescended pillar in the U.S.A. The following section devotes on developing a biographical chronology of the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the significance of his life in budding an inspiring leader. Martin Luther King Jr. was born to a family of family of black Christians who served and pioneered in the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta. Originally born as Luther King Jr. he later changed his name to Martin Luther King Jr. His grandfather features as the crown and legend of the family’s long serving tenure as ministers in the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Indeed, the grandfather served in the church between 1914 till 1948, whereupon his son took over to present (Adams, 2007). During that period, nevertheless, Martin Luther King also served as a pastor alongside his father. Early life
Martin was born to his parents Michael King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. He was the middle sibling in his family. Auspiciously, the power to draw masses reigned along the family history. His grandfather together with his family resided in interior Georgia, until he immigrated into Atlanta in 1893. Martin’s grandfather took over the reins of the crumbling Ebenezer Baptist Church in conjunction with 13other members with whom he created a mammoth congregation. The grandfather tied nuptials with Jennie Celeste with whom they conceived an only child named Alberta. Martin Luther King Sr. wedded Alberta in 1926 following an eight year long courtship (Adams, 2007). Together, the newly wedded couple transcended on A.D William’s, the grandfather, Atlanta home where they served in the church. With the demise of the father in law, Martin Luther King Sr. took over the reins of the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta from 1931 (Adams, 2007). He followed in the footsteps of his predecessor onto becoming a successful minister in which case he adopted the name Martin Luther King Sr. This was in honor and adoration of German based Protestant religious leader named Martin Luther. Later on, Martin Luther Jr. followed in his father’s lead to adopt the name too. Martin Luther King Sr. and his wife Alberta conceived three children namely, Willie Christine, Luther King and Alfred Daniel Williams King. The minister with his wife nurtured a loving, compassionate, close knight, peaceful and secure family. Their children grew in a love and security accorded environment. Quintessentially, King Sr. represented the disciplinarian in the family whereas Alberta represented genteel to equate the father’s strict discipline. Martin Jr. encountered racism primarily because his father pioneered in rooting out racism. This was heavily influenced by his belief that racism represented an affront against the will of God. In addition, he and his family were blacks and, as thus, were victims as well as subjects of racism. He indoctrinated equality and non superiority precepts along racial lines among his three children. At the age of five, Martin Luther King Jr. joined a racially segregated school in Atlanta, Georgia. He underwent the baptism ritual in May 1936 with little significance in his life (Adams, 2007). Martin’s grandmother succumbed to death in 1941 following a heart attack, an event that traumatized the twelve year old boy. He was agitated because the grandma died while he was out following a demonstration parade challenging his parents. In fact, the young boy lipped off from a second story building in alleged suicidal attempt. Martin Luther King Jr. attended his high school at the Booker T. Washington High School. The institution remembers him as a preoccupied student. His intellectual prowess showed when he skipped the ninth and eleventh grade into joining Morehouse College, Atlanta aged 15 (Bennett, 1964). Here, Martin Jr. featured as a favorite among his peers and the female students in particular. Nonetheless, he stood out as an unmotivated student and, therefore, floated throughout for most of the two years. Surprisingly, Martin questioned religion as well as arts in spite of his family committal to the Christian faith, worship and church (Bennett, 1964). Surprisingly, he expressed displeasure and discomfort with overly display of emotions in religious worship. The displeasure and discomfort with the religion clamored over his adolescence years a fact that initially resulted in his boycotting attending his father’s church, displeasing and dismaying his father. Nonetheless, Martin Luther King Jr. had shown interest in his junior years at school in ministry. In the fall of his final year of his senior, Martin Luther Jr. revealed to his father his interests in the ministry. Spiritual and Educational Growth
Martin Luther Jr. graduated in 1948 from the Morehouse College in Atlanta with bachelors in sociology degree (Bennett, 1964). From there, he joined the Crozer Theological Seminary, a Pennsylvanian liberal college. He excelled in his studies onto receiving valedictorian status in 1951 (Bennett, 1964). While he was at the Seminary, Martin was voted in as the president of the student’s body. His exemplary excellence at the institution earned him a fellowship opportunity to study for graduate. The young Martin was dismal to his father’s conservative influence at the college since he was frivolous playing pool as well as drinking beer (Bennett, 1964). It was then that he encountered a relationship with a white woman in which he languished following a break up. While at the seminary and in his last year, he encountered theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and a classmate to Martin Luther Sr. at the Morehouse College (Bennett, 1964). This theologian challenged Martin Luther Jr. rather liberal views towards religion. As a result, a bond struck and he became a mentor to the young Martin. Niebuhr influenced significantly the life and times of Martin Luther Jr. He nurtured the spiritual and intellectual growth of the young Martin. Martin Luther Jr. received acceptances from several colleges to further his studies to doctoral level but opted for Boston University (Bennett, 1964). It is here that he met Coretta Scott, a budding musician and singer. Some chemistry struck between them thrilling into a consummate tie of nuptials on June 1953. Together, the bore four children named Yolanda, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott and Bernice. Still working on his dissertation, Martin Luther Jr. was appointed into the ministry of Dexter Avenue Baptist in Montgomery where he served as a pastor. In 1955, Luther Jr. accomplished his doctoral degree and was accredited aged 25 years only (AFROAMHISTORY). Montgomery Bus Boycott
Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old girl defied the local law that entailed racial segregation such as surrender of a seat by a black for a white. Consequently, the adolescent was arrested and jailed. A civil rights activists lobby group NAACP through its local chapter felt optimistic of winning the case by challenging the Montgomery’s segregation policy (AFROAMHISTORY). However, it was revealed that the teenage was pregnant a fact that scandalize and jeopardize the deeply rooted religious black community thereby compromising on the credibility of the case in empathy of the whites. In December the same year, Rosa Parks was arrested for abscond of the Montgomery law. She was arraigned in court where she was found guilty and charged $ 10 as well as an assessment fee of $ 4 (AFROAMHISTORY). Coincidentally, Martin Luther Jr. met with the NAACP local chapter head E.D. Nixon in the company of other local civil rights activists. The meeting’s agenda was to devise a mastermind plan that annexed the citywide bus segregation law (AFROAMHISTORY). Martin Luther was voted in as the head of the annexation. His inauguration speech floated with sentiments of the avid patience that the blacks tolerated the whites creating an impression of submissiveness and toleration to their treatment. He strategized on the need for justice as well as freedom of the blacks. His acumen and skillful rhetoric synergized the meeting as well as the civil rights lobby in Alabama. The Montgomery annexation entailed 382 days of harassment, waking to work, intimidation as well as violence towards the African American community in Montgomery. Following the meeting, Luther Jr. and E.D Nixon had their homes attacked. However, this coagulated the black community in which they attacked the city ordinance through a court tussle sitting that it was against the Supreme Court’s ruling that, “separate is never equal” as was held in the Board of Education vs. Brown (AFROAMHISTORY). The City of Montgomery was dealt heavy blows in the legal tussles and it suffered heavy financial losses. This compelled the City administration to withdraw the segregated bus system law providing a triumph to Martin Luther Jr. as a civil rights lobbyist. The Southern Leadership Conference
The successful annexation and eventual withdrawal of the Montgomery segregation law exploded nationwide. As a result, African American civil activist groups realized the need to form a nationwide umbrella to coordinate the affairs and efforts of the smaller groups. Consequently, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy in conjunction with other 60 activists and ministers conceived the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in January 1957 (AFROAMHISTORY). The umbrella activist group was mandated with harnessing moral authority as well as setting a standard of administration and organization of the black churches. In addition, the lobby group was to organize non violent boycotts, demonstrations and protests intended to usher in civil rights transformation. The lobby group presented Martin Luther Jr. with a platform to address the southern region as well as the national civil activities. Martin Luther Jr. engaged peaceful protests and civil disobediences subject to the activities of Mohandas Gandhi and writings of Thoreau in his administration and leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. This enables his triumph against social injustices such as racial discrimination and segregation. . His activism and demonstrations facilitated the legislation of the civil rights act in 1964 as well as the Voting Rights Act enunciated in 1965 (AFROAMHISTORY). “I HAVE A DREAM’ INSPIRATION
The spring of 1963 witnessed the arrest and jailing of Martin Luther Jr. He staged a forceful demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama. The demonstration had a huge turnout and the city police inflicted chaos and violence on the demonstrators. The aftermath was the arrest and jailing of Martin Luther King Jr. together with his followers. The event drew national attention further heightening the blacks’ cal for equality, freedom and justice. Nonetheless, the incidence invited daggers and swords upon Martin Luther King Jr. from the whites and the blacks alike. They found scapegoat in him for endangering the lives of the children who had turned up. The Alabama demo was inaugural primarily because the turnout was unprecedentedly large and Martin Luther Jr. delivered the inaugural “I have a dream” speech. It was immensely inspiring as well as agitating for justice, equality and democracy among the American citizens. This dream speech was echoed immensely during Barack Obama’s triumph in presidency in 2008. Letter from Birmingham Jail
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. featured as quintessential in lobbying for the rights and freedom of the African American heritage. In addition, he spearheaded the fight against equal rights and disintegration along racial lines. This earned him great controversy with conventional and conservative Americans as well as the authorities. Consequently, he spent much time behind bars and in isolation in police cells. Nevertheless, the atrocities committed against him did not extinguish the burning fiery against discrimination, segregation and civil injustices. The numerous “sit – ins” protests held in Birmingham were just but a few instances in which Luther Jr. was arrested. The Alabama demo in which he delivered the, “I have a dream” speech angered authorities leading to his arrest, trial and eventual imprisonment. It is in Birmingham jail that Dr. Luther King Jr. drafted the famous letter from Birmingham Jail. The letter agitated and inspired the followers as well as the critics to embrace visible protests in order to realize transformation. He argued that people were equally right to disobey unjust laws as well as bound to protest demeaning and dehumanizing laws. Nobel Price Prize
The year 1963 marked triumph as well as the imprisonment of Martin Luther King Jr. Indeed, the Time Magazine dubbed him the Man of the Year. The following year, Luther King Jr. acclaim led him to meeting Pope Paul VI. This marked a landmark fete for Luther Jr. Notwithstanding; the Nobel Peace Prize Committee recognized him for his efforts and became the youngest person to ever receive the award. He was aged thirty five when he received the award. Surprisingly, the reward prize monies were donated to Civil Rights lobby. The period between 1965 and 1967 witnessed an expansion of Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights activism beyond the southern cities such as Los Angeles, and Chicago. However, Luther Jr. encountered much criticism and skepticism from fellow black activists as well as public challenges emanating from budding power hungry black leaders. For instance, his approach to presentation of grievances such as peaceful agitations as well as appealing to the white middle social segment isolated the violent black militants. This group regarded Martin Luther Jr. as late in addressing the black issues as well as feebleness. The radical and extremist groupings perceived Martin Luther King Jr. as affable and a weakling. Indeed, Luther King Jr. featured as a passively irresponsible as well as non effective among the blue jean clad urban youths. In addressing the feigned criticism from his arch rivals, Martin Luther King Jr. established a connection between poverty and discrimination. This saw an expansion of his mandate and civil rights activism to Vietnam. He criticized the American government for its political influenced debacle in Vietnam. He expeditiously attacked the untenable political lure of the American government as well as the government’s irresponsibility, deceit and recklessness in attacking the Vietnamese. In this regard he broached the possibility of a multi race coalition in order to address the unemployment hurdles as well as economic injustices. Selma, Alabama
The March 7 of 1965 witnessed police brutality and aggression against protesters who paraded a demo from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery. Martin Luther King Jr. intended the march to begin later but the agitated demonstrators went ahead of schedule thereby encountering police brutality. Luckily, the unfolding events were captured on video which were broadcasted to the American nation. The video induced reconciliation and empathy from the public. As a resulted, another similar march was organized receiving a rather huge following. The parade went through successfully into Montgomery where the demo listened to Martin Luther King Jr. address them at the capitol. Assassination
King Jr. fastidiously executed his civil rights activism and protests against abuse of civil rights between the years 1965 and 1968. Precisely, King criticized openly the government’s intentions as well as inhibitions in attacking Vietnam. This must have drawn assassination threats on his life. On April 4 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while addressing a crowd in Memphis Tennessee. At the time, King was on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel. Surprisingly, he had issued a rather poignant speech the day prior to his assassination attesting his faith, conviction and confirming that his life was in danger. James Earl was arrested and arraigned in court following the assassination contagion. In spite of his trial, critics argue that, perhaps, the assassination ploy represented a conspiracy involving the government. The biography of Martin Luther King Jr. presents a budding leader with overwhelming and rich diversity in inspiration. There are a number of lessons and insights obtained from this story. For instance, leadership entails charisma, understanding the people’s wants, fastidiousness in decisions as well as inspiring the followers. In addition, Martin’s biography trances such innuendos such as violence, selfishness and cowardice. Instead, it enunciates such virile virtues such as selflessness, peace maintenance, reconciliation and inspiration. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s life weaves as a seismic inspiration to a leader. Quintessential in a leader is patience and persistence in lobbying for the interests of the group. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. displayed patience with the authorities as well as the unjust laws. Finally, he contended them through peaceful annexation rather than fighting the authorities in combat. For instance, the relentless repetition of the Montgomery city segregation policy against the blacks avowed the blacks to combat the vice. As a result, the black and religious community saw to it that the policy was waived. Notwithstanding, the biography inspire budding leaders to emphasize on solidarity. All the achievements, successes and triumphs in civil activism in which Martin Luther King Jr. pioneered accrued from a solid pact of the black community. For instance, waiving of the Montgomery segregating policy arose from annexation by the black community. In addition, it is through the lobby umbrella group that Martin Luther King Jr. ensured passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.
King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929-1968) . (n.d.). King Institute Home. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_martin_luther_king_jr_biography/ Adams, R. L., & Winslow, E. (19841969). Great Negroes, past and present (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Afro-Am Pub. Co..