Martin Luther King, champion of human rights

The most fascinating aspect of Martin Luther King was the consistency with which he questioned, defended and fought for his own ideals and principles. He was a staunch pacifist, but also a radical activist who achieved historic results in terms of civil rights and condemnation of racial segregation.

Martin Luther King, champion of human rights

Martin Luther King was a hero of flesh and blood, literally. He embodied one of those more unique and rare figures that best represent the human being. He is considered one of the most important characters in the history of the United States and of the world in general.

knowing oneself through others

The great merit of this Baptist pastor was that of having allowed historical progress in recognition of civil rights and in the dismantling of racial segregation in his country. He achieved it all using non-violent methods and supported only by his own intelligence, charisma and leadership.

Take the first step with confidence. It is not necessary to see the whole staircase, it is enough to see the first step.

-Martin Luther King-

Martin Luther King is one of those historical figures who has shown great consistency between his thoughts and actions. More than a political leader, he was a spiritual guide . More than by his convictions on the importance of civil rights, he was animated by his deep religious convictions. For this reason, ethics and activism were for him a single reality.

Martin Luther King statue

Martin Luther King, a brilliant young man

Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, United States. His father was a Baptist pastor and his mother a church organist. He had two brothers, an older one and a younger sister. His paternal grandfather had also been a shepherd and he himself was until his death.

At the age of 6, two of his white friends told him that their parents had forbidden them to play with him because he was black.

King attended public school and achieved brilliant results there. He stood out for his skills and did not have to attend high school because he was admitted to university at 15.

He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the age of 25 from Boston University. Shortly before, he had married Coretta Scott, with whom he had four children. After finishing his studies, he was appointed pastor of the Baptist Church in the city of Montgomery, Alabama. It was there that his legend began.

A seasoned activist

The episode that marked a before and after in the life of Martin Luther King occurred in 1955. At the time, a very ostentatious hostility against blacks in Alabama prevailed. That year an event occurred that would change the history of the United States and of King himself, who was the protagonist. A woman named Rosa Parks he refused to give way to a white man on the bus.

newborn baby pulls his hair

From that moment on, Martin Luther King led a boycott fight against city buses, in a strong protest that lasted over a year. People of color began to refuse to use the buses, and some of them had to walk up to 30 kilometers a day to get to work. It all ended when the Supreme Court of Justice declared discrimination on Montgomery buses illegal.

From that moment on, King did not stop conducting peaceful protests in defense of civil rights and against racial segregation. In 1963, he led a march to Washington and delivered a speech that became famous as ' I have a dream ' (I have a Dream) , with which he expressed all his desire for a world made of equality.

King illustration

A life broken prematurely

While Martin Luther King was radical in his use of nonviolent methods, he was nevertheless victim of violence and repression several times. In total he was arrested 20 times. He was almost always offered to pay bail in exchange for freedom, but he refused. His home was attacked on several occasions and the FBI sent infiltrators to closely monitor all of his activities.

It is said that between 1957 and 1968 he undertook marches and walks for a total of 10 million kilometers . During this same period of time he gave about 2,500 public speeches. 'I have a dream', his most emblematic speech, was improvised in front of an immense crowd watching.

At 35 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and to date he is the second youngest person to have won this award. Four years later, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was killed by a bullet that someone fired while he was looking out from a balcony. The perpetrators, as well as the motive for the murder, are still the subject of debate today.

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  • Prat, E. (2004). Pacifist thought: Henry D. Thoreau, Leon Tolstoy, Ghandi, Albert Einstein, Virginia Woolf, Hannah Arendt, Martin Luther King, EP Thompson. Icaria.