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Martin Luther King:A man who has the dream was killed 45 year ago today / Video Biography


American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was fatally shot by a sniper bullet 4 April 1968 All the world remembers him saying, “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”

The pastor was shot down while standing on a hotel balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was pronounced dead in hospital an hour later.

He lived and worked in a time when a respectable seamstress could be imprisoned for sitting on a bus seat barred to black passengers, when a black student could be denied access to proper education and when a black teen could be hunted down and murdered for doing nothing more than being friendly to a white girl.

It was fighting injustices like this that Dr King found himself in Memphis in the company of striking black sanitary public works employees. He delivered his last speech during a rally in support of the workers on 3 April and even alluded to the possibility of his early death.

He said: “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.”

Escaped convict James Earl Ray was found guilty of his murder and sentenced to 99 years in prison after the assassination. The white supremacist had checked into a boarding house opposite the hotel where Dr King was staying. He had waited for the 39-year-old activist to walk out onto the balcony before firing his rifle. He fled the scene and was arrested in Heathrow Airport, London, on 8 June 1968, while on his way to white-ruled Rhodesia.

Martin Luther King’s death led to fierce nationwide race riots and a day of national mourning. The Pathé newsreel above assesses the life of the Nobel Prize Winner, whose life was so tragically cut short by the violence he preached against.

In the video Martin Luther King addresses 250,000 supporters, both black and white, with his famous “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, five years before his assassination.

He describes his “dream”, where “sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down on together at the table of brotherhood.”

As inspired supporters watch Dr King, the narrator notes: “Dr Martin Luther King was not allowed to see his dream become reality.”

Dr Martin Luher King Jr Biography

martin-luther-king-12Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream”, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr Biography Video

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