Martin Luther King Jr was a Fearless Man. Only 3 men in our history have Federal Holidays: Christopher Columbus, President George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. That right there tells you a whole lot about this man.
He was named after Martin Luther, the German monk who started a reformation of Catholicism by teaching that Salvation was a free gift from God, not by works. Martin Luther King Jr’s message was also starting a movement – that all men and women are created equal under God.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
“I Have A Dream”
My favorite part of the whole speech is this, “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.”
Any man or woman that talks about the importance of character has my attention. Here at Fearless Men we stress the importance of it.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. -Martin Luther King Jr
The rest of his speech is truly inspiring but I won’t post the whole thing here. You can read or listen to the audio version of “I Have A Dream” here.
March on Washington (1963) is where King delivered his famous speech “I Have a Dream,” which resonated across the airwaves, heard by millions of people.
The strength behind the message preached by Martin Luther King Jr. was profoundly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, and his success with non-violent principles. King’s belief in this type of movement was solidified when he visited India, in April of 1959.
In a world filled with violence and hate, King took the opposite approach to his plight preaching civil disobedience, using truth as a weapon. As a powerful oracle against slavery and discrimination, King’s gift for speaking included the influence of agape (Christian brotherly love).
Ending Racial Segregation on Public Buses
Rosa Parks, a familiar name in the fight for civil rights, at the age of fifteen made a stand against the Jim Crow law. This law basically enforced racial segregation in some southern states.
The event that took place in March of 1955, in Montgomery, which involved Rosa refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. At that time blacks were suppose to ride in the back of the buses. Later that year Rosa Parks was arrested, which prompted King and others to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott lasted a little more than a year, at which time King’s home was bombed and later arrested. This event culminated in a court ruling called Browder v. Gayle. This ruling amended the Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation on public buses; Montgomery public buses were now to be segregated.
King emerged as a national spokesman for civil rights – resulting from his participation in this boycott.
Dying for His ‘Dream’
It was on April 4, 1968, that King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39 years old.
James Earl Ray was arrested in June, of that same year in London. Ray was extradited to the United States in March of 69, where he plead guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Ray died in prison at the age of 70.
Throughout King’s time as an activist, King endured many threats. It was a time in society where there was resistance to any transitions to end segregation. King had a dream, he had a calling to right the wrong that he saw in the past, present , and future. It’s ironical that his call for non-violent protests would result in his own violent death. But we have to believe that deep down inside King knew that things would end this way and he reconciled himself to that fact.
In 1999 a civil trial was held with a jury ruling that unspecified governmental agencies and others were part of a conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King Jr.
The Third Monday in January
November 2, 1983, was the day that president Ronald Regan signed the bill creating a federal holiday named honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. The holiday officially commenced on January 20, 1986 but it wasn’t until January 17, 2000, that all fifty states participated in this national holiday celebration.
Out of death comes actions, and it was just days after King’s death that Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968.