Martin Luther King Jr originally born Michael King Jr on January 15, 1929. He was an American Baptist preacher and became widely recognized around the world for fighting for human rights in America and across the world. Martin Luther King junior was an activist who spearheaded the civil rights movement in the United States of America from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
Strategies used by Martin Luther King to fight for human rights
Vision and motivation: Although slavery was abolished in America in the 19th century, Blacks were still subjected to extreme racism. By the mid-20th century, there was still a rule in America that required blacks to use separate public utilities such as schools and toilets, blacks were not allowed to share toilets public transport, and schools with whites. They suffered daily discrimination from their white employers some even got lynched by white mobs, black Americans were denied rights to vote. For decades activists had been fighting for the removal of these laws and replacing them with those that equally protect the citizens of the United States of America. In 1954 King and other activists made a great achievement in their civil rights movement, the Supreme Court rendered the law that required blacks and whites to attend different schools unconstitutional. All students regardless of their color were to attend the same school. This achievement did not change much about racism that had spread throughout the country like wildfire. It was due to this that Martin Luther strongly joined the civil rights movement and inspired and motivated black people with is the vision of seeing an America where blacks and whites are accorded the same human rights
Martin Luther King Jr used his leadership qualities to attain human rights equality, for example in December 1955 in Montgomery a Black woman named Rosa Parks declined to give up her bus seat to a white woman who in turn called the cops on her and she was detained for violating the segregation rules of Montgomery city (Anon, 2021). Due to this incident, a civil activists group rose to demand racial equality in the city’s transport system. King led a group of activists called the Montgomery Improvement Association to reject the transport system until equality is implemented in the public transport system. Luther led the boycott using a nonviolent tactic. As a result of leading this protest his home got bombed which did not affect Luther’s fight for human rights. For more than a year people boycotted the ride on city busses. Later 1956 the Luther-led boycott made another achievement on human rights when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on the public transportation system is unconstitutional.
Martin Luther King used strong messages that were hard to resist by everybody across America, H used the audience attracted by his message to advance his civil rights movement. Ever since he launched his civil rights movement in Montgomery in 1955, King has always preached the gospel of the significance of equal opportunity among all races whether boarding a bus in Alabama, eating in a cafeteria in Atlanta Georgia. Apart from the issue of place King delivered the message of using non-violent activist movements which included economic boycotts and public matches. In addition, Luther used his oratory skills and charisma to address segregation. Luther’s speech ”I Have a Dream” during the 1963 march on Washington is viewed as the most powerful speech in the History of America (Roberts, 2010). Martin Luther King had the expertise in delivering his speech, He always deliver messages to the right audience at the right time. As an evangelical agent Luther was viewed as an honest man and was trusted by his followers. The Montgomery boycotts received tremendous support from several black Americans since they were the largest beneficiaries of the public transport system. The boycott had a great impact on the revenues during the period.
Eight years after the Montgomery incident King launched another desegregation campaign in Alabama with the hope of providing the same result as that of Montgomery. This time he was not planning boycotts on the transport system but he wanted to eradicate economic policies that subjected African Americans to discrimination, knowing this would take more than simple boycotts, king labeled the Alabama campaign project C where the C stood for confrontation. King and his fellow activists attracted a large audience of African Americans where they started the boycotts against the business entities that did not hire individuals of all races to work for them and desegregate their entities. He led a series of protests in peaceful sit-ins, libraries, and other places he knew would anger the law enforcement agencies leading to their arrest. Everything went as per his strategy and they were confronted by Birmingham police officers who arrested him and some of his fellow activists, Luther explained that the purpose of the confrontation was to get attention for negotiation. While in the Birmingham jail Luther wrote his famous article ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which he states that real civic privileges cannot be realized without nonviolent direct actions of civic defiance king also wrote that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, he argued that every individual has a moral responsibility to defy unfair rules. The letter got printed by numerous media houses and volumes were written about it it is still regarded as the best civic activist writing in American History. Project C alongside the letter played a very important role in the abolition of discriminatory actions in Birmingham. In the spring of 1963. The city segregation cases in the city dropped.
King used outreach activities through carefully shaping his message and image to win the hearts of many organizations within the US which did not support his civil rights movement. King chose his words carefully and would use historical influences that are widely known by many people whether secular, religious, black, or white. For example, he stated that Africans were brought to America in Chains and Americans escaped the chains of the Europeans he argued that the unity of humans is born of a common struggle and we are to get rid of the oppression not to allow anyone to be subjected to any form of oppression.
Towards the end of his civil rights movement, King shifted his focal point from desegregation to economic justice. In 1967, he started addressing poverty and its connection to criminal activities in city centers, He was the front figure in the planning of the Poor People’s March to Washington. In 968 before the match took place King traveled to Memphis Tennessee to take part on a protest organized by the city’s sanitation workers. King met his death on the 4th of April 1968 when he was by a sniper while standing on the second-floor veranda of a hotel where he was staying. His death shocked the country and the world at large.
Achievements of Martin Luther King Jr
He led the boycotts in Montgomery city that resulted in the desegregation of the public transport system Black Americans were accorded with equal rights as their white counterparts.
He played a big role in the establishment of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference a foundation that was founded to fully protect African Americans and vouch for their equal treatment in all aspects of American life. The organization supported the policy of nonviolence.
By his writing, the Letter from Birmingham Jail where he highlighted the significance of civil rights changes he opened the eyes of many people across the United States about the importance of equal justice.
Martin Luther King Jr through his I have a dream which he delivered in 1963 during the Washington march he motivated many African Americans and kept their dream of seeing an America where people are treated equally regardless of their color or religion. The speech was an inspiration to many Black Americans and it lifted their spirit of supporting the civil rights movement. Before his assassination Luther advocated for the nonviolent protest in Memphis Tennessee where he demanded that workers be accorded with their rights and provided conducive working conditions, better payment of wages, this strike attracted wider media houses and many people joined in support. The strike bore fruits and on April 12 1968 Memphis city agreed to the worker’s term.
Martin Luther king led civil rights movement also led to the amendment of several legislation acts such as the Civil rights act of 1964 that barred racial discrimination in occupational and civic structures, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that accorded blacks the right to vote, and the fair housing act of 968 that banned housing discrimination in both sales and areas of residences.
Martin Luther King Jr played the biggest role in the liberation of African Americans from the bondage of racial segregation. His civil rights movement made life easy for the blacks in America. His criticism of the justice system led to numerous changes that brought equality in America. His civil rights movement did not go unappreciated as he was presented the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his great work of fighting for human rights and equality.
Anon. (2021, April 1). Martin Luther King Jr. Retrieved from HISTORY: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/martin-luther-king-jr
Roberts, R. (2010). ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech, In Its Entirety. RACE.
Ward, B., Badger, T., & Badger, A. J. (Eds.). (1996). The making of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. NYU Press.
Kirk, J. A. (2014). Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Routledge.
Kirk, J. A. (2004). Martin Luther King, Jr. Journal of American Studies, 38(2), 329-347.