Last Updated on January 16, 2022 by BVN
Drew Nate | IE Voice and Black Voice News
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
During his lifetime he became an activist, scholar and a religious leader at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He would ultimately lead a movement that resonated around the world as he spoke, demanded and pushed for legislation to protect the rights of African Americans.
King began garnering national attention in the year 1955 after he and other civil rights activists were arrested for leading a boycott against a transportation company in Montgomery, Alabama. At that time Blacks were required to give up their seats to whites and stand or sit at the back of the bus. The movement was sparked when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man.
Working for justice
Over the course of the next decade, Dr. King with the help of other activists, organized nonviolent protests that would bring attention to the racial discrimination in America.
On August 28, 1963 Dr. King delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech which took place in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The event was aimed to draw attention to continuing challenges and inequalities faced by African Americans. King envisioned a world that was no longer divided by race as he notably said during the speech,
“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.”
The speech came during a divided time in America where segregation was legal due to Jim Crow laws which legalized the segregation of schools, parks, libraries, drinking fountains, restrooms, buses, trains, and restaurants.
King’s impact on federal legislation
After the powerful “I Have A Dream” speech by Dr. King, which addressed the issues of segregation and racism, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
In following years as King continued working for justice and civil rights, more legislation was enacted including the 1965 Voting Rights Act which halted efforts to keep minorities from voting and The Fair Housing Act of 1968 which ended discrimination in renting and selling homes. Dr. King is largely responsible for the passage of these laws.
Although Dr. King’s life was cut short by hatred at the early age of 39, he is remembered today for the revolutionary social and political impact he had on the world.
No celebration without legislation. On January 17, join me to honor my father and the #MLKLegacy as we call on Congress and the White House to eliminate the Jim Crow filibuster and pass voting rights to protect millions of Black and Brown voters. #DeliverForVotingRights pic.twitter.com/JQ726iaRYi— Martin Luther King III (@OfficialMLK3) December 15, 2021
Family of Martin Luther King Jr. calls for “No Celebration without Legislation.”
The impact of his life’s work is felt today as his family and activists will march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. on January 17 as part of the ongoing efforts to push Congress to break the Jim Crow era filibuster to allow for passage of federal voting rights legislation to protect the voting rights of Blacks and other people of color.