Let's celebrate Black History Month 2021 with an excitement like never before. Each week will display an important Black History Hero. Let's start with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” Martin Luther King Jr.
No singular person has so significantly influenced the social standings of a race of people and their treatment in society as Martin Luther King, Jr. Born Michael King on January 15th, 1929, Martin grew up in a Christian family in Atlanta, Georgia. A highly intelligent individual, King’s extensive education at numerous institutions influenced his ideals and who he later became. As he grew older, he rose to fame for his passionate, but nonviolent methods of protest against racism. Throughout his life, he had many monumental achievements that defined his place in history and influenced people of all upbringings across multiple generations. An inspirational person of character, Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream to change the world, and he transcended racial barriers to impact American society in a profound way.
Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied outstanding moral qualities such as truth, courage, and justice. The most effective way to peacefully get his message across to the world, in Martin’s mind, was to commit to using nonviolent methods of protest along with perseverance: “King combined Gandhi’s belief that nonviolence was not only the most ethical but also the most effective form of social protest with his own rigorous training in Christian theology, claiming, 'Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method'" (Lincoln, C. Eric). This statement shows that Martin had learned from others before him and adopted what worked for them into his philosophy. He answered spite with kindness, violence with words, and hate with love. One of the greatest qualities he possessed was extreme patience, an invaluable virtue, which helped him spread his message across America. “… King’s life was in constant danger. His home was bombed and he and other MIA leaders were threatened, harassed, arrested, and jailed” (Lincoln, C. Eric). King was not accustomed to his overnight fame, and it had its consequences. He could have easily stopped the threats to himself and his family if he ceased campaigning for the fair and equal treatment of all people. However, this would go against his morals and what his conscience told him to do. He knew in his heart what he was doing was right and that he was going to make a positive impact on an entire nation. King found it admirable to stand up for one’s beliefs.
Martin was completely committed to his cause and wanted to inspire people to change their ways in order to impact society. “In Memphis on April 3, King addressed a rally; speaking of threats on his life, he urged followers to continue the nonviolent struggle no matter what happened to him” (Lincoln, C. Eric). The fact that Martin was willing to give up his life for his cause and his followers is incredible and showed a lot about his character. He was entirely dedicated to changing the way that African Americans were treated, and even if he couldn’t achieve this goal in his own lifetime, he wanted to leave a legacy that would spark the tenacity to eventually reach his goal. Not many heroes would sacrifice that much for what they believe in. “In June, King and 125,000 persons marched in a ‘Freedom Walk’ in Detroit. On August 27, over 250,000 black and white citizens assembled in Washington, D.C. for a mass civil rights rally, where King delivered his famous ‘Let Freedom Ring’ address" (Lincoln, C. Eric). One of the things that King was most famous for was leading rallies. He gathered hundreds of thousands of people together to campaign for the cause of equality. Both blacks and whites protested in the marches, proving that the two races could coexist peacefully. They were all brought together by their knowledge of what was right and the equality of all people. The effort and time King spent organizing civil protests shows his dedication and how seriously he took his work.
King saw everybody as equal and always respected everybody despite their ignorance. He was committed to instituting equality and fair treatment for all and has had a lasting impact on American society. “…King and his followers moved into St. Augustine, Fl., one of America's most thoroughly segregated cities after weeks of non violent demonstrations and violent counter attacks by whites, a biracial committee was set up to move St. Augustine towards desegregation” (Lincoln. C. Eric). King truly believed that one could make his message clear in a peaceful way. This moral standard of King’s is inspiring because true heroes respect everyone, no matter what others say or do to them. He had a set of values and wanted to share them with the world to improve the way people live their lives. King has greatly contributed to American society by practically eliminating segregation and drastically reducing racism. True heroes always act with character, although not surpassing their own humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s many impeccable qualities make him one of the most inspirational and admired heroes of all time. His actions motivate and his words are legendary, carrying a great impact up to this day.
“In the years since his assassination on April 4, 1968…Martin Luther King, Jr., has evolved from a prominent civil rights leader into the symbol for the civil rights movement in the United States. He is studied by school children of all backgrounds; his words are quoted by the powerless and the powerful, by anyone who has a dream to make her or his life better, to better the nation, or the world” (DISCovering Multicultural America. Online ed.).
This exceptional human being has planted seeds for many interracial friendships and has impacted lives through many decades. He has shown that with perseverance, self-control, and a big dream, one can rise above initial circumstances into eternal glory. Everyone should take a few lessons from King; greatness can arise from even the most humble of beginnings, perseverance is key, and everybody is equal and should be treated as such.
Mrs. Adams, AVID Coordinator
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