Monday, January 18, 2010

King For A Day

   Once again, we celebrate the birthday of America's greatest Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. Ever since his death in 1968, we have honored the work of this humble pastor who preached nonviolence in reponse to the racial bigotry and discrimination of the 1960s.

Dr. King has a look of determination in this Life photo.

Dr. King and his father both were pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. It is now part of the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site.

King with his parents, wife and children walking to church.

Because he was a minister, it was not easy for racists to attack his message.

King with his lovely wife Coretta.

King was arrested and booked for his actions during the Montgomery bus boycott.

Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy in St. Johns County Jail,  St. Augustine Florida. King said: "This is one of the nicest jails I've been in."

After the Montgomery bus boycott, various attempts were made to discredit King and other Civil Rights leaders by accusing them of being Communists. In those paranoid, Cold War years, many people believed it.

Here King speaks to a group which includes Ralph Abernathy and Rosa Parks.

Once the Civil Rights movement became large enough, the Federal government had to take notice. Here King and other leaders discuss issues with President Lyndon Johnson, who eventually signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

King meets another famous African-American leader, Malcolm X. While King preached nonviolence, Malcolm advocated a more active reaction to racism and urged followers to resist "by any means necessary" including violence.

King led the way as more and more people took to the streets to protest racial inequality.

In 1963, King spoke from the Lincoln Memorial to the largest civil rights demonstration ever held. His "I Have A Dream" speech is considered one of the best political addresses of all times.

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover hated King and assigned many agents to harrass, eavesdrop and spy on his activities. This letter was sent to King by the FBI to try to persuade him to commit suicide.

King realized that racial equality was tied to economic equality and in his later years he offered support for labor unions.

King addressing a 1967 anti-war demonstration in front of the United Nations. His Nobel Peace Prize gave him authority to speak on the need for World peace. Many believe that his involvement in peace issues may have triggered his assassination.

Shortly before an assassin's bullet cut him down in this exact spot, King arrives at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis with Ralph Abernathy and a young Jesse Jackson.

Ralph Abernathy, Bernard Lee and Andrew Young pay respects to their comrade King.

Martin Luther King, Jr. knew the power of the forces allied against him but never gave up on the hope of achieving racial equality and changing our nation for the better. On the night before he was killed, he made this amazingly prescient speech:

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

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