Martin Luther King Jr., the Man Who Began a Revolution

By Mia Saraceni

A stone statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, DC. Photo by Mia Saraceni.

A resurgence of hate and violence has butted its ugly head into the United States, forcing a call to action being made across the country.

Racism has been an issue from the very birth of the nation, with the 1950-60s being one of the most prolific periods due to its revolutionary ideas and leaders, forcing a halt to segregation and judgement.

So, who or what allowed for such an impactful change?

Almost 60 years after segregation was officially ended in the United States by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a man is still being celebrated and commended for his work to help the brutal battle.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the face of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and has maintained a world-famous status for his immense impact and speeches.

Dr. King was a Baptist minister, following in the footsteps of his father and he even worked with him for a period of time.

King got his start in activism, though, in 1955 when he joined the Montgomery bus boycott, the same one political activist Rosa Parks was arrested for.

The boycott ultimately led to segregation on buses being banned, but that wasn’t enough for King; he had a mission to end segregation and obtain equality completely.

Being a minister certainly helped him in his mission, as he was used to writing long and heartfelt sermons, all centered around love and peace.

High school history teacher Ms. Lucy Iapalucci is one of the millions of people who admire King for his activism, sharing her personal view of all that he did.

“MLK exposed the ugliness of race hatred,” Ms. Iapalucci said. “He opened up the eyes of America and showed them that laws do not change behavior. His actions, words and deeds show how simple it is to be kind to each other.”

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is arguably what he is most known for, and it bares the truth of what was going on in America at the time, which is just what Iapalucci was referencing.

The speech is riddled with King’s hopes, detailing a country full of love and acceptance, but also his own personal struggles with racism.

“He not only wanted to protect his peers and family members, but he wanted to protect all black people across the country,” senior Geneva Brookins said. “He fought for every race to be together treating each other like brother and sister.”

King was an all-around revolutionary, but his life was cut short by an assassin in 1968.

“He lost his life protecting ours,” Brookins said.

King left a legacy that was felt by all Americans, no matter the color of their skin.

“His courage and leadership inspire others to live with respect and change the course of history,” Iapalucci said. “We respect his life by showing empathy to others and honoring diversity. We can learn from our differences.”

His ideas were those unheard of and unspoken, but the fear of what might happen never scared him away from making lasting change.

People today honor him by celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday to celebrate his birthday, which is observed on the third Monday of January.

The impact he had on the country is too great to be written into word, but he made sure everyone who was being unfairly judged had someone in their corner fighting for change.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” King wrote in his book Strength to Love. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

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