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Martin Luther King Jr.: an Emblem of LOVE

January 16, 2022 2 min read

Martin Luther King Jr. giving a speech

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King Jr. 

The most influential leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the 20th century, Martin Luther King Jr. has taught people around the world what it means to LOVE each other and overcome our differences.

MLK was always an outspoken advocate for equal rights. When he was just 17, the Atlanta Constitution published aletter he had written about how black people “are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens.” But it wasn’t until Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man that King became a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. After hearing about Parks’ arrest, his NAACP chapter agreed that he would be the best person to lead a protest, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized in 1955.

Many people were opposed to King’s activism though, and the road wasn’t easy. King’s house was bombed, which resulted in a spiritual renewal and the start of his non-violent protest tactics. The Bus Boycott lasted for a full year, and helped in the decision of Brownv. Board of Education that declared that segregation was illegal. MLK was among the first to ride on a desegregated bus in Montgomery.

By the mid-1950s, MLK's activism gained steam. He formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization in which black ministers shared strategies to fight against racism and help other blacks vote. In 1957, he appeared on the cover ofTIME Magazine. A few months later, he delivered his first national address, “Give Us The Ballot”, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. He went on to meet then Vice President Nixon, President Eisenhower, and travel to India to learn more about Gandhi’s non-violent style of activism. 

In the 1960s, King led multiple protests and was arrested several times. One of his most notable demonstrations is his march with hundreds of people from Selma to Montgomery after a U.S. District judge upheld the right of demonstrators to peacefully march. He met with presidents Johnson and Kennedy, imploring them to help end segregation and black poverty. During this time, his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written in response to Jewish and Christian clergymen’s suggestion that black people should wait patiently for equal rights. King’s response was that black people have been waiting for hundreds of years for basic rights, and that injustice cannot be left unresolved. 

Even when Martin Luther King and his family were faced with violence and hate, he still chose to stick with his doctrine of nonviolence and compassion for all. MLK will always be remembered as an incredible man who chose LOVE over hate, and who sought to provide equal rights for everyone. 

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