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Magnificent Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Accomplishments

Elizabeth Christ, Contributor

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Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. giving a speech.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a honorable man. While he was alive, he was very vivacious and accomplished many extraordinary things.  A few of those extraordinary things were bringing publicity to major civil rights activities and efforts (like the bus boycott), the I have a dream speech, and provide leadership to the African-American civil rights movement.

 

In Montgomery, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. led a boycott against city buses that refused to let black people sit in the front seats. The protest gained followers rapidly for many reasons. The boycott led to a citywide hating on the bus system until the rules were changed. After, Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers were sent to jail, the boycott did succeed, and the unfair, law allowing the segregation aboard the buses was changed. This was a fantastic success for the civil rights movement, and gained national attention.

 

In 1963, King and other leaders of the movement organized a huge march for equal rights in Washington, DC. With a massive crowd of over 200,000 people, the march was protesting discrimination in employment, separatism in schools, and they demanded minimum wage for all workers. It was the largest gathering in Washington, DC’s history. The site of King’s most famous speech, “I Have a Dream, took place in Washington D.C. as well.  As a result of the march and the speech, the citizens of the nation began to put growing pressure on the president (John F. Kennedy).

 

Non-violent protests and civil disobedience during this caused many crisis situations, and the government had to take action. These showed the inequities and injustice that was happening to black people. The protests were done with sit-ins, marches, and boycotts. Some examples of sit-ins, marches, and boycotts are:

  • Civil Rights Act- this banned discrimination in employment and public based on “race, color, religion, or national origin”.
  • Voting Rights Act- this act restored and protected the right to vote (anyone).
  • Immigration and Nationality Services Act- this allows immigration from groups other than those from the European countries.
  • Fair Housing Act- this banned housing discrimination for sales or rentals.

These are all many laws King helped make happen. Everytime these came out it was a big win for black people as whites were treating them worse because they were fighting against it.

Sadly, at 6:05 P.M. on Thursday, 4 April 1968, King was shot in the head while standing on a balcony outside room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. News of King’s assassination prompted major outbreaks of violence, resulting in more than 40 deaths nationwide and property damage in over 100 American cities. James Earl Ray, a 40-year-old escaped fugitive, later confessed to the crime and was sentenced to a 99-year prison term.

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Magnificent Martin Luther King Jr.