BY: LANWO RAPHAEL
A Leader, Preacher, and Revolutionist. In the wake of 1960 to late 1965, the odyssey of yet another great historical hero and world changer had attracted the attention of the media, and the government of the United States of America. Dr. Martin Luther King jr., a preacher, civil rights activist and an African-American leader had made for himself a name which would forever remain celebrated in the chronicles of the world’s great and influential leaders. Unlike other civil rights leader of his time such as “Malcolm X”, his activism was solely founded on the Gandhian concepts of peaceful noncompliance (Satyagraha). He is regarded as the most influential of African American civil rights leaders during the 1960s. His activism against racial segregation was crowned with the successful passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.Below here are remarkable feats by this great leader of all times.
1. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
A nonsectarian American agency established by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers in 1957 to coordinate and assist local organizations working for the full equality of African Americans in all aspects of American life. Martin Luther King, Jr. activity as civil rights leader became noticeable as the leader of SCLC, he rose to national prominence as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which promoted nonviolent tactics, such as the massive March on Washington (1963), to achieve civil rights. This heroic march later became a source of inspiration for the African-Americans to fight for their civil rights.
2. The March on Washington
This historical event heralded the public celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Aug. 28, 1963, an interracial assembly of more than 200,000 people gathered peaceably in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial to demand equal justice for all citizens under the law. The crowd was uplifted by the emotional strength and prophetic quality of the address given by Martin Luther King, Jr., that came to be known as the “I Have a Dream” speech.The rising tide of civil rights agitation greatly influenced national opinion and resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.The success of this march consequentially paved way for Martin Luther King Jr. Large followership mostly constituted of black Americans and a number of liberal whites who supported the civil rights cause.
3. The Montgomery bus boycott
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, had refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger and as a consequence was arrested for violating the city’s segregation law. Activists formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to boycott the transit system and chose King as their leader. Although King’s home was dynamited and his family’s safety threatened.He continued to lead the boycott until after a year and a few weeks later, the city’s buses were desegregated.
4. Nobel Prize Winner
In recognition of his remarkable approach to end racial segregation and agitation for civil rights in a peaceful atmosphere, in the year 1964.Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace. This came at a point he least expected, as he was seeking refuge in a hotel and was facing some health challenges. He, however, dedicated the prize to those who have been victims of racial segregation.
4. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Years after his death, King remained the most widely known African American leader of his time. His stature as a major historical figure was confirmed by the successful campaign to establish a national holiday in his honor in the United States and by the building of a King memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., near the Lincoln Memorial. The site of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.
King indeed left a legacy behind for himself which was built in his lifetime struggle for peace, equality, and justice.