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Martin Luther King Jr. Obituary: Dream Lives On
April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee, Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out onto his balcony. Few minutes later he was shot. A few hours later he was dead.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American clergyman and civil rights activist. He fought for equality for African Americans among whites in America. He tried to change and bring reform to America. With many tries he was successful.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. “Martin was a good student,” said one of his teachers at his black only school. “He enjoyed reading and speech class. He also did well in speech contests.” Said another teacher.
Soon Martin went to Morehouse College. Here Martin decided to follow his father’s footsteps and became a minister.
After graduating from Morehouse he went to Crozer Theological Seminary to study religion. At Crozer Martin learned about the life of Gandhi. Gandhi was an inspiration to Martin for bringing change and reform with non-violent ways and resistance.
Martin wanted to bring change and stand up for his rights as an African American but he risked being beaten or killed.
In 1951 Martin graduated from Crozer. He went to Boston University. In Boston he met Coretta Scott. They were both married on June 18, 1953.
After they both graduated and moved to Montgomery, Alabama, Martin took a job as a minister at Dexter avenue church. Martin hoped to improve the lives of black people there. He then became a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The leading organization at the time for helping African Americans
Soon the news of Rosa Parks reached Martin. Rosa stood up to for her rights by not giving up her seat when asked in a bus. Martin knew it was time for change. With his beliefs of using peaceful non-violent methods he organized the Montgomery bus boycott. Blacks all over Montgomery refused to ride buses. During the boycott many threats were sent to Martin from scared and angry whites. “That man’s a trouble maker.” Said an angry citizen during the boycott. Later Martin’s house was bombed. Martin was concerned about his family’s safety but knew he had to continue.
In 1956 the bus segregation ended in Montgomery. Soon Martin became the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC). Along with its ten southern minister members martin worked to improve civil rights all over America.
Soon African Americans everywhere were organizing sit ins or marching with Martin, but never responded with violence. Martin organized marches all over the country to try and desegregate cities. He was taken to jail for a week because he didn’t stop one of his marches.
Martin led a march in Birmingham, one of the most segregated cities in America. After his march the leaders met with Martin and decided to desegregate lunch counters, public counters drinking fountains, department store fitting rooms and allowed white businesses to hire blacks for decent jobs. Slowly America had started to change.
At age 35 became the youngest person to receive the noble peace prize. He donated his prize money of $54, 123 for civil rights movement.
President John F. Kennedy wanted congress to pass a law ensuring civil rights for African Americans. To encourage congress to pass the law, Martin organized a march in Washington D.C. Over 200,000 people marched alongside Martin. Martin delivered a speech that night which was viewed by people all over the world. Congress soon passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law said that African Americans couldn’t be treated unfairly. Many whites were not happy about this. “Those blacks don’t deserve the rights they’re getting.” Said a white citizen. But the laws for African Americans had now changed.
Martin then travelled to Memphis, Tennessee to work with a group of garbage collectors. In his last speech he said “I’ve been to the mountain top and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as people will get to the promised land.”
Martin leaves behind his wife Coretta, daughters Yolanda and Bernice, and sons Martin Luther King III and Dexter.