What is an “American Dream? ” An American dream is when someone effects human society by giving up what they have to give others freedom, success and prosperity. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an African American that contributed to the Civil Rights Movement. King, Jr. was born to be a minister but during his life he began to be a Civil Rights Activist. King Jr. lost his life trying to better the lives of African Americans during the late 1950s. He was one of the greatest African American Civil Rights leaders of the time.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929. He was the middle child of Michael King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. King, Sr. fought against racial prejudice, not just for him but for others. After Martin’s grandfather died, King, Sr. stepped in to be a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Martin skipped both the ninth grade and eleventh grade and at the age of fifteen was enrolled at Morehouse College. He graduated in 1948, and wanted to become a minister like his father.
After three years of studying at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, he was elected student body president of a predominant white senior class and was awarded his bachelor’s degree in 1951; also in 1951 he was valedictorian (Biography. com, para. 8). At the end of his time in seminary, King, Jr. became influenced by a theologian named Reinhold Niebbuhr (Biography. com, para. 8). In1953, King, Jr. married Coretta Scott and was working at Boston Graduate School. They had four children(Biography. com, para. 8) He completed his doctorate degree in 1953 and received it in 1955.
After being accepted from several different colleges, including Yale and Edinburgh in Scotland, he enrolled in Boston University (Biography. com, para. 8). In 1955, he graduated from Boston Graduate School and earned his PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) (Nobelprize. org, para. 1). King, Jr. was a well known activist that attempted to get rid of discrimination and segregation. On the night Rosa Parks was arrested, Martin Luther King, Jr. met the head of NAACP and other civil rights leaders (Biography. com, para. 11). At the meeting, King, Jr.
was elected to lead this boycott that ended up lasting 382 days (Biography. com, para. 13). The reason he was elected was because he was new to the neighborhood and had few enemies (Biography. com, para. 13). Many thought he had a strong incredibility with the black community. He received a Spingarn metal from the NAACP in 1957 (LaBlanc, 131). In 1958, he published a book called “Stride toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story” (LaBlanc, 131). Also in 1958 he received an Anisfield-Wolf Award (LaBlanc, 131). In 1959, Martin Luther King, Jr. was inspired by Gandhi’s success with non-violence (Biography.
com, para. 15). He visited Gandhi’s birthplace and affected him deeply which made him increase his commitment to America(Biography. com, para. 15). In 1960, King, Jr. moved to Atlanta and became a co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. In 1962, King Jr. was convicted of leading a march in Albany. King Jr. led a protest against segregated buses. It started with a woman named Rosa Parks not giving her seat up for a white man and was arrested. King, Jr. led protests and knew how to get people involved. He was one of the reasons why equal rights came to be between races.
King, Jr. was elected President of Montgomery Improvement Association (Biography. com, para. 11). King, Jr. encouraged others to stand up for themselves and after the protests ended, ”white people” tried to kill Martin Luther King, Jr. by bombing his house (Nobelprize. org, para. 2). During the sixties, African Americans started sitting at “white” tables to show they wanted to get rid of segregation. When they refused to leave Martin Luther King, Jr. and thirty-six others were arrested (Biography. com, para. 17). The mayor negotiated a truce and the charges were dropped.
Protests were broken up by Southern policemen by using hoses and dogs to halt the protesters (Biography. com, para. 18). The violence was shown on television and President Kennedy signed the Civil Rights Bill (Biography. com, para. 17). In 1964, King was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and he turned the money ($54,123) over to further the civil rights movement (Biography. com, para. 22). On March 9, 1965, 2,500 marchers, white and black, were led by King, Jr. to Pettus Bridge and wanted to confront the troopers but instead were led in a prayer then turned back.
Martin Luther King, Jr. received a Judaism and World Peace Award from Synagogue Council of America (LaBlanc, 131). Martin Luther King, Jr. also received the Brotherhood Award in 1967, for Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (LaBlanc, 131). In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nehru Award for International Understanding (LaBlanc, 131). Also in1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech in Memphis, Tennessee in front of a huge crowd when a convict, James Ray, Assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. James Ray was sentenced nine years in prison.
After Martin Luther King, Jr. ’s death he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (LaBlanc, 131). Also after his death, many people started to riot in 125 different cities. Many people were murdered, injured or arrested and buried because of the riots. To this day we have a holiday to honor and remember him during the time he spent creating integration. Today people are immigrated in schools, libraries, restrooms, and many other public places. Martin Luther King, Jr. change many lives but some don’t follow the discrimination law that we have today. Martin Luther King, Jr.
had an “American dream” because he went through almost getting killed, having enemies and putting his family in danger. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t have to sacrifice his life to saves others but he did. Work Cited Page Martin Luther King Jr. – Biography. Nobelprize. org. 18 March 2013 http://www. nobelpize. org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio. html Martin Luther King Jr. (2013). The Biography Channel website. 19 March 2013, 11:21 http://www. biography. com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086 LaBlanc, M. (1992). Contemporary Black Biography. Detroit, Gale Research