Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Martin Luther King Jnr and the Formation of the Dream

This post is one of a series this week in anticipation of the 4th April 2008, the 40th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jnr.

Family Influences
Martin Luther King Jnr., was born on January 15, 1929 at the family home in Auburn Avenue Atlanta, Georgia. He was the first son and second child born to Alberta and Rev. Martin Luther King Snr.

Growing up in Georgia, Martin suffered experiences of discrimination that demoralise and outrage human dignity. He recalls the curtains that were used on the dining cars of trains to separate white from black. "I was very young when I had my first experience in sitting behind the curtain," he said. "I felt as if a curtain had come down across my whole life. The insult of it I will never forget."

‘I’m No Boy!'
I remember riding with him [my father] when he accidentally drove past a stop sign. A policeman pulled up to the car and said, "All right, boy, pull over and let me see your license."

My father replied indignantly, "I'm no boy." Then pointing to me, "This is a boy. I'm a man and until you call me one, I will not listen to you."

The policeman was so shocked that he wrote the ticket up nervously and left the scene as quickly as possible.

“With this heritage,” Martin said, “It is not surprising that I had... learned to abhor segregation, considering it both rationally inexplicable and morally unjustifiable.”

Anger Rising
On another occasion, Martin and his school teacher were riding a bus from Macon to Atlanta when the driver ordered them to give up their seats to white passengers. "When we didn't move right away, the driver started cursing us out and calling us black sons of bitches. I decided not to move at all, but my teacher pointed out that we must obey the law. So we got up and stood in the aisle the whole 90 miles to Atlanta. It was a night I'll never forget. I don't think I have ever been so deeply angry in my life."

Source: The text is gathered from a variety of sources.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Martin Luther King Jnr’s parents.