Martin Luther King: Life, Work, Beliefs and Characteristics

We explain who Martin Luther King was, what his personality and training were like. Also, what are their beliefs, works, and characteristics?

Who was Martin Luther King?

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American pastor of the Baptist church , recognized for his intense work as a social activist for the rights of African-American citizens in the segregationist era of the United States, as well as against the Vietnam War and, in general, against poverty .

His long career as a human and social rights activist in a historical context of racial segregation and rejection of the idea of equality between blacks and whites in the United States has established him as one of the heroes and martyrs of contemporary humanity .

His leadership is considered an example to follow: his doctrine of nonviolent protest, his preaching of resistance and equality, his indisputable ability to mobilize large masses. Luther King was an exponent in the fight for an egalitarian society at a time in history when whites and blacks sat apart on the bus.

Since 1986 there has been a public holiday in his honor in the United States , as a way to consecrate his memory and keep his legacy alive.

Martin Luther King’s biography

The son of a Baptist minister and Alberta Williams King, a church organist, Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta , United States.

His childhood was marked by racial segregation and religious influence (he was as part of his church choir ). In 1853 he married Coretta Scott and they had four children: Yolanda, Martin Luther (III), Dexter and Bernice.

Personality of Martin Luther King

Personality of Martin Luther King Luther King entered Morehouse College at the age of 15.

He had a hard life that forged a complex personality with great inclinations towards study . At the age of 15, he entered Morehouse College, an exclusive university for blacks, without studying neither the ninth nor the twelfth grade.

The death of his grandmother is said to have been particularly shocking to him , so at the age of twelve he attempted suicide. The rest of his life, however, he devoted to the fight for racial equality.

Theological training of Martin Luther King

He studied Sociology and then a bachelor’s degree in Theology , as well as a doctorate in Systemic Theology at Boston University , from where he received it in 1955. Already a year earlier, at just 25 years of age, he had been appointed pastor of the Baptist church of Dexter Avenue in Montgomery.

Martin Luther King as speaker

Martin Luther King as speaker Luther King’s oratory skills were reflected in his “I have a dream” speech.

He is considered one of the greatest American orators , often compared to Abraham Lincoln and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. His capacity for persuasion has consecrated his speech “ I have a dream ” (“I have a dream”) as one of the most representative pieces of the fight for equality in the West .

His speeches had as its axis the mobilization of people , so that they would stop complaining and begin to act, to the best of their ability, to transform a panorama of injustice and segregation.

Most recognized actions of Martin Luher King

Some of the best known social actions of Martin Luther King were:

  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott . In 1955, citizen Rosa Parks was arrested for having violated segregationist laws by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on the bus. The response organized by King was a boycott of the bus line through a shared ride system. Black participants were attacked by racist extremists during the 382-day boycott.
  • Birmingham Boycott . In the city of Birmingham, the black population suffered twice the rate of unemployment as their hiring was limited to manual trades, or restricted from the electoral register (barely 10% were registered). Attempts at black organization were attacked with bombs and acts of violence, including in churches. King’s presence sparked a series of protests on Easter 1963, demanding the treatment of all customers regardless of color in stores. As on so many other occasions, King was arrested and in prison wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Prison .
  • The March on Washington . Along with civic and anti-racist organizations , King called for the Great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom , whose specific demands were an end to racial segregation in schools, new civil rights legislation (prohibition of discrimination), a minimum wage of two dollars for all workers without distinction, among others.

Values and virtues of Martin Luther King

Values and virtues of Martin Luther King Luther King promoted religious and moral teachings.

King’s thought was based on the following principles:

  • Civil disobedience and nonviolence . According to this principle, the people had the legitimate right to disobey the laws they considered unjust or illegal, through peaceful but constant and active methods.
  • Equality, Liberty, and Racial Pride . The defense of traditions and racial freedoms above all demanded fair and equitable treatment for all.
  • Pacifism and social commitment . The struggle for peace and social demands was key in King’s struggle, for whom this was a motivation that everyone should embrace.
  • Faith, spirituality and love . Religious and moral teachings were also important in King’s thought , for whom religious teaching was driven by universal love and faith.

Assassination of Martin Luther King

The death of Luther King is one of the most famous assassinations of the 20th century in the West , considered a national tragedy. He was shot by a white segregationist on the terrace of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

His death sparked a wave of race riots across the US that left several dead and required the intervention of the National Guard.

Leadership of Martin Luther King

Leadership of Martin Luther King His great leadership was characterized by coherence and pacifism.

The unstoppable leadership of Luther King, who was followed by hundreds of thousands of people during his years of struggle, is recognized. This was because:

  • He suffered jail along with his followers and did not advocate special treatment, different from what they suffered.
  • It offered them a method of peaceful but active protest, it didn’t stop at just denouncing or complaining.
  • He was always consistent, consistent with his opposition to poverty, racial inequality and war.
  • He was an informed speaker with clear values .

Pursuit by the FBI

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover often called King a “separatist, hatemonger, and the biggest liar in the country.”

Not content with smearing him, King was investigated and surveilled, accused of being a communist or a paid agitator for foreign powers. He also distributed reports to the press alleging alleged deviations from his private life, to defame him and destroy his public image.

Martin Luther King Acknowledgments

Martin Luther King Acknowledgments

Luther King has a huge monument in Washington in his honor.

Martin Luther King was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 , in recognition of his nonviolent struggle against racial prejudice in the United States.

He was TIME magazine’s Person of the Year in 1963 and received the 1965 Medal of American Liberties by the American Jewish Committee and the Pacem in Terris Award.

The neighborhood where he lived was declared a historic monument in 1980 and his legacy is considered one of the brightest in the history of mankind.

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