7 Quick Facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

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1) While he was just 17 years old and a student at Morehouse College, King had his first work published as a letter to the editor in Atlanta’s largest newspaper.

2) King studied and embraced the teaching of non-violence through the work of A. J. Muste, Mohandas K. Ghandi, and Reinhold Niebuhr.

3) In 1963, The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial attracted some 200,000 protesters, where King participated and delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech.

4) Sit-ins were one of the effective non-violent methods used by King and his followers in protesting for equal rights.

5) King was arrested, spied on by the government, assaulted numerous times, stabbed, had his house bombed, and tragically assassinated in 1968.

6) In 1964 TIME magazine named King “Man of the Year,” and he also received a Nobel Peace Prize.

7) Just days after his assassination, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which helped move the US forward in racial reconciliation. His legacy also inspired other parts of the world, including South Africa.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I like that in your 7th fact, you framed it as what King did resulted in the legislation of the Civil Rights Act which MOVED us towards racial reconciliation. We certainly are not there yet.

    As one who grew up in the ’60’s and whose mother was the Head Start Director for two counties in East Texas aka the deep south, Ferguson felt like de ja vu. It has been disheartening to hear the exact same verbiage and hand wringing over the plight of African Americans 50 years later–but from a new set of hands and voices.

    I was in high school when we moved to East Texas and my mother became Head Start Director. The local government was complying with a legal mandate; there was no across the board change in heart as to how the whites viewed blacks or the blacks viewed whites. The same can be said for the integration of the schools. The biggest problem in the south is that from the emancipation of the slaves on, the concept of racial equality has been forced on a segment of the population that was not ready to embrace it. Several years ago I found a letter written in the ’60’s by an older white woman from Arkansas to my great grandmother–the writer of the letter literally could not wrap her head around the concept of racial equality when it came to African Americans; she wrote in a very educated and gentle manner that it was something she simply did not understand.

    In his book, “What is So Amazing About Grace”, Philip Yancy devotes a chapter to contrasting what legislation can do vs the grace of God. It boils down to legislation can require a change in external behavior but the grace of God can transform hearts and how people view each other.

    As my oldest daughter states, we did not enslave the Africans, but we are certainly dealing with the aftermath of the sins of our fathers who did. At this stage of the game, I bet poverty is as much a problem as race. One of the desires of the ’60’s was to “break the cycle of poverty”. That is what Wesley ended up doing so well; but he did not start out with physical aid to the poor he started with a message about God. For true racial reconciliation to happen, the church, especially the ones with a Wesleyan heritage need to quit lobbying in Washington and get their proverbial “rears in gear” and start doing what John Wesley did: connecting ALL people to the triune God of holy love who is way more verb than noun; the unfathomable God of mystery who loves even me more than I could ever think about loving myself and then enable them to live a transformed life centered in God 24/7 REGARDLESS of their circumstances.
    Somewhere I read that Wesley is credited with saving England from going the way of France: going up in flames at the hands of a segment of the population trapped in poverty. Within his lifetime, the economic status of Methodists had improved so much they were becoming spiritually complacent which led him to predict that Methodism would become the form of religion without the power.

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