Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.


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Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to a crowd of people.

Emma Lawman, Reporter

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.  On April 4, 1968, at 6:05 am on a Thursday morning, thirty-nine year old Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. He was standing on the balcony of the second floor of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee when he was murdered by escaped fugitive James Earl Ray. Martin Luther King Jr. was not the only Civil Rights activist to be assassinated. Medgar Evers was murdered on June 12, 1963 in Jackson Mississippi. Evers was in his driveway coming home to his wife and children when he was killed. In June of 1964, three Civil Rights Workers were murdered by the Klu Klux Klan in Mississippi. The fight for Civil Rights had casualties; people who died for this country to live up to what it should be.


Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of faith. King was born on January 15, 1929; he grew up in a middle class family and had a good education. Martin Luther King Jr. became a Baptist minister, like his father and grandfather before him.  King was a major leader in the Civil Rights movement which is what he is best known for. The first major protest that Martin Luther King led was the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. The Alabama bus boycott began after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man in 1955. This would begin Martin Luther King Jr.’s war against the oppression of his people. 

The way Martin Luther King Jr. fought this war was non-violence; at least on his end.  There was plenty of violence against the protestors. Martin Luther King Jr. practiced civil disobedience, and was willing to accept the consequences for his actions. He was willing to break the law peacefully, which is why he was in Birmingham Jail. In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr, stated that he thought that a person that was willing to accept the consequences for protesting an unjust law was showing the highest respect for the law. King and people who shared his mentality, were at the very least, assaulted routinely during their protests. Even so, they continued to fight against segregation, and other forms of oppression that plagued that African – American community. 

In Martin Luther King Jr’s speech, I Have a Dream, he said that his dream was that his children would one day be judged by their character rather than their race. If Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission could be summed up, this dream would be it. This statement is also fitting because the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. and those who fought beside him, helped make a better future for us. We get to live in a country that lives up to its creed more than it ever has. An example of our country’s progress is, when Emmett Till was murdered in 1955 his killers were acquitted by a jury; in 2020 when Ahmaud Arbery was murdered his killers were sent to prison. While our country is not perfect, it is a much better place than it was; that is, in large part, because of Martin Luther King Jr.   


Martin Luther King Jr. was killed only 55 years ago; when you look at the big picture, that was not long ago. It is essential that we do not forget the sacrifices made to make our country free for everyone. The bravery of Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, Medgar Evers, and everyone else who fought alongside them is incredible. Today, in this country, we could say or post almost anything we want and, for the most part, have no consequences. During the Civil Rights movement saying the wrong things could very well get you killed. The reason that it is important is to at least acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday can be explained by the quote, “ those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. “