Friday, April 5, 2013

45 years ago: The death of a King

On the night of April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King was shot and killed . This week marks 45 Years since his death.

It's been 45 years since the assassination of once a civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated. James Earl Ray, a segregationist, confessed to the assassination and he was convicted. He died in prison in 1998 while serving a 99-year sentence.

Born as Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was the middle child of  Reverend Michael King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Later on his farther adopted the name Martin Luther King Sr. in honor of the German Protestant religious leader Martin Luther. His son followed naming himself after his farther. King Jr. grew as a christian and later on became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama

In his life he became a great man who worked for racial equality and civil rights in the United States of America. Influenced by people like Mahatma Gandhi and Howard Thurman, King participated in various peaceful demonstrations that protested the unfair treatment of African-Americans and initiating various civil rights movement.  His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Here he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s life had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States. I can describe him as the most widely known African-American leader of his era. His life and work have been honored with a national holiday, schools and public buildings named after him. His teaching and what he believed has also been used in the rest of the world to bring courage minds upon youth and freedom fighters.

Even after 45 years of his death most of us are portraying him as a complex figure: flawed, fallible and limited in his control over the mass movements with which he was associated, yet a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social justice through nonviolent means.


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