Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking.] Photo by: Rowland Scherman, Photographer

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. 

President Lyndon Johnson hands Martin Luther King Jr. an ink pen after signing the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act into law. (mobile.twitter.com)

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

August 28, 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech (source: twitter Wendy Jumonville@WendyJumonville).

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. 

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. 

Drew Nate

Drew Nate, a resident of Corona, California, reports for Black Voice News and the IE Voice where he focuses on stories within the Inland Empire and throughout California. An advocate for equity and social justice, he emphasizes civil rights for African Americans. Drew previously served as a staff reporter for The Criterion, a student-run newspaper publication at La Sierra University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Communications. Drew’s areas of interest include international climate change, fashion, and criminal justice reform. Contact Drew with tips, comments, and/or concerns at drew@blackvoicenews.com.