Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Ethan Nguyen, Contributor

Martin Luther King, Jr., or MLK for short, had made such a big impact on the world. Not only did he fight to end segregation, but he inspired many others to follow in his footsteps not only here in the United States, but everywhere around the world. January 17th is the day we remember MLK for all the great things he has done in his life. A person who worked hard, inspired others, and never gave up.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta Georgia. His father was a minister and a civil rights activist. He once had a friend who he played with who was white. Once both of them were 6 years old, they went off to school. However, MLK had to go to a school meant for people of color and his friend had to go to a school meant for whites. Later, his friend’s parents didn’t let him play with MLK because they said MLK was colored. This is called segregation.

Martin grew up in a time when segregation took action. This separated white people from colored people such as schools. Not only schools, but also things such as a simple water fountain had one for whites and colored. Usually, the people of color had a lower quality version than the whites. People of color were treated so unfairly that they wished someone could’ve stopped segregation. It wasn’t long after until Martin Luther King, Jr., stood up and took action.

Water fountains when segregation took place.

Dr. King started out small and worked his way up. His first mission is to desegregate the Montgomery public busses. This is when white people were allowed to sit in the front and people of color have to sit in the back. Everybody didn’t want to get in trouble so they sat down on the correct seat. However, for one person, it was very different. She was sick and tired of sitting on the back of bus that she even got arrested for it. Her name was Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks, an African American woman, sat in a seat meant for whites. She refused to give it up therefore her being arrested. Dr. King chose Rosa Parks as the image for his campaign. Rosa Parks helped contribute the image that Dr. King was trying to show to the world. This brought Dr. King able to boycott the Montgomery public busses. After a whole year of the boycott, segregation is abolished from the public busses in Montgomery.

Due to the success of desegregating the public busses, Dr. King formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which organizes black churches to conduct non-violent protests for civil rights reform. King and SCLC activists worked toward one goal: abolishing segregation. They tried doing this on diners, schools, shops, etc. By bringing attention to segregation, it was when the famous 1963 March on Washington where King delivered his famous speech called, “I Have a Dream.”

On August 28, 1963, Dr. King would deliver a very powerful speech that changed the world. He was going to tell the people what he had been fighting for in his life.

“But one hundred years later, the people of color still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of people of color is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the people of color live on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the colored people is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”

Dr. King stated about the problem that he is facing. Not just Dr. King alone, but so many others that are facing the same problem.

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This amazing speech really told the world what he was fighting for and what needs to be right. What he has been fighting for 13 years and dedicated his whole life. In 1964, segregation was almost abolished in all parts of the United States. What Dr. King has fought for had come to a resolution. His dream was fulfilled and he has worked so hard for his passion.

Unfortunately, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated by gunfire. To the world, this was a shocking event, and how sad this is. However, he is forever remembered for all the things he fought for in his life. Not only in his hometown in Atlanta but everywhere in the United States. Every year, Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered on the third Monday of January. Dr. King made such a big impact on the world that inspired others to follow in his footsteps. He is really one of the most important and impactful people in the world.

Sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. in his honor.