Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968)
Martin Luther King day will be observed Monday, January 17, 2011. On this day, those of us who lived during his time will remember the events of Dr. King's life and of his death. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a highly admired Civil Rights Leader, whose focus was on using non-violent methods to end poverty and the VietNam war. He was a well educated young man, who entered Morehouse College in Atlanta at the age of 15, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. In 1948, Martin Luther King, Jr. entered the ministry and becomes ordained at the age of 19. He attended the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1951. And Martin Luther King, Jr. received his Doctorate of Philosophy in 1955 at Boston University. In 1964, Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end segregation and discrimination, and he vowed to use the money from this prize to further finance the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King was the youngest man, and the second American to receive this prize. Some of his writings include: "Why Can't We Wait", "Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story", and "Where Do We Go From Here?"
Trouble did follow Martin Luther King, Jr., even though it was his intentions to conduct peaceful demonstrations. While imprisoned in jail for leading a non-violent sit-in to protest the segregation of eating establishments, he wrote the famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail." During a book signing in Harlem Dr. King was stabbed by a mentally ill woman. And he was stoned in Chicago while leading a march an effort to open up the city for housing. After enduring threats on his life, being arrested numerous times, and his home being bombed, Martin Luther King, Jr. continued to work toward his goals. He founded the "Southern Christian Leadership Conference", was named "Man of The Year" by Time Magazine in 1963, and he was a member of the executive committee of the NAACP.
On a rainy night in Memphis, on April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his last speech. The speech would become known as the "I've Been To The Mountaintop" address. In this speech Dr. King said, "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 people, will get to the promised land."
1...2...buckle my shoe
In 1968, I was 19 years old. Although I am not politically inclined, I was aware of the problems in Viet Nam, including the college anti-war demonstrations and the issues with draft evaders. Women were burning their bras, or, just throwing them away, (yes, me too!) and also demonstrating for equal rights, and equal employment opportunities with equal pay. It was somewhere during this time that women were given the right to wear pants/jeans in the workplace. I worked for Hallmark Cards corporate headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri during this time and we were among the first in the city to start wearing pants-and on came the t-shirts and jeans! Hoorah!
The news of Martin Luther King's death hit, and the repercussions of this tragedy were felt worldwide. I remember the problems that resulted from this event. Even in my city there were riots and vandalism. The National Guard were everywhere and curfews were placed within the city. During the week, you were to be off the streets by 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm on the weekend. I can't remember how long this lasted-2 or 3 weeks? My brother worked for the H.D. Lee company downtown Kansas City, Missouri after school. I had to pick him up one evening, and we were worried I wouldn't be able to get through the roadblocks to get to him. Stan and I would just barely make it home to the Kansas side before 7:00 pm. But-I took the backroads and managed to get through. You could see the jeeps of the National Guard parked at intersections-what a Ghost Town it was. There wasn't any trouble at my workplace, thankfully. Hallmark Cards was, even at that time, an Equal Opportunity Employer. It was the greatest place to work at, and the employees always conducted themselves with respect. There was a lot of sadness for days after Dr. King was killed-I could feel it too. And, in time, the sadness lifted. Our nation has come a long way since then, and so have I. Still not politically inclined, I do understand more and I believe Martin Luther King, Jr. REALLY had a dream-he wasn't out there just blowing off steam! And he gave his life for that dream. On January 20, 1986, the nation observed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's. Birthday as a federal holiday for the first time.
In August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most famous speech in 17 minutes, "I Have A Dream." Dr. King's last book, "Where Do We Go From Here" was written in 1967, and he delivered his last speech the night before he died, April 3, 1968.
It was on April 15, 1865 that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.-the first President to be assassinated.
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
In February of 1965, civil rights activist Malcolm X, was gunned down in New York.
On the evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot down outside of his Motel in Memphis.
June 5, 1968, just two short months after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Los Angeles after winning the California primary for the Democratic nomination of U.S. President.
Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked 'round and he's gone.
This is a verse from the song, "Abraham, Martin and John", that was written by Dick Holler in 1968 and recorded by Dion.
I am thankful for all of the available sources of information that enabled me to write this post.
OH-and before I go...one more Birthday! My aunt Gertrude, whom we call Auntie Gerty, and lives in Wisconsin, turns 82, also on January 15. I do believe that she and Martin Luther King, Jr. were being born at the same time, worlds away. My aunt is a couple of years younger than mom, and was also born in India. Having come to the United States around the same time as my mom, the two sisters have been able to spend a lot of time together.
Happy Birthday Auntie Gerty!
Here is a picture taken at a Kansas City Royals' game 7 or 8 years ago with my mom on the right, Auntie Gerty in the middle and her husband, my uncle Chuck, riding shotgun!
News Flash! My favorite radio station KLUV broadcasting from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, now has a national toll free number. You can call from anywhere at "855-987-KLUV".
I listen every morning to Jody Dean and the Morning Team. They play 1960's, 70's and 80's rock and roll, soul and pop rock music. On Sunday Mornings at 7:00 am they have "Elvis Only" for 1 hour with Elvis music and Elvis history. And then, from 8:00 to 9:00 am, after Elvis, you can listen to "Breakfast With the Beatles" music and history. It's a fun radio station! Tune in if you get a chance.
Well, I'm sure that by now you're wondering when I plan to put out a new survey for your voting pleasure. And you're all psyched up, full of anticipation about which subject I have picked this time! I do have one worked up and hope to add it to my sidebar in the morning. And I'll let you know how much time you have to bravely dive in with your answers!
You too, cousin Obaid!
And so, my fond readers, I will bid you adieu. Thank you for visiting. We are currently under cloudy skies at 45 degrees in Fort Worth, Texas, and expecting a bit warmer temperatures for the weekend.