Martin Luther King
Approfondir ses connaissances sur une figure historique : Martin Luther King.
- Martin Luther King est un pasteur baptiste, né en 1929, qui créa le Mouvement des droits civiques en 1957 (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) à la suite de l'arrestation de Rosa Parks (en 1955) pour avoir refusé de céder sa place de bus à un blanc.
- Il organisa un boycott de la compagnie de transport d'Alabama, qui aboutit à la reconnaissance par la Cour Suprême de l'institutionnalisation de la loi de ségrégation de cet État.
- Sa lutte contre les inégalités de traitement des gens de couleurs se faisait par des actions non violentes. En cela, il s'opposait à Malcolm X qui prônait des actions plus violentes.
- En 1963, il prononce son fameux discours à Washington, lors d'une manifestation pour l'adoption d'une loi garantissant l'égalité de droits civils (adopté 1 an plus tard). Il est assassiné 5 ans plus tard.
Martin Luther King Junior was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
|Doc. Martin Luther King|
King studied theology and received his Doctorate degree in 1953. Nearly a year after, he moved to Montgomery (Alabama) to preach at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, with his newly-wed wife, Coretta Scott.
An event would lead King to create the Civil Rights Movement. On December 1, 1955, a Black seamstress, Rosa Parks, refused to give her seat to a white person on a bus and was arrested. King organised the boycott of the public buses in Montgomery. The people who refused segregation were attacked or threatened. On January 30, 1956 King's house was bombed.
After one year of boycotting the bus system, the Supreme Court declared that the Alabama state segregation law was unconstitutional. That was a great legal victory but it took many years before things really changed.
In 1957, for instance, President Eisenhower had to call 1,000 soldiers to escort 9 Black students and restore order in the previously all-White Central High in Little Rock (Arkansas). In 1962, two people were killed and many more injured as James Meredith was enrolled as the first Black at the University of Mississippi!
In 1957, Black ministers formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King became its President. The aim of the SCLC was to fight against segregation: this was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
After a year of travelling and demonstrating across the country, King continued to organise non-violent protests against unequal treatment. Contrary to Malcolm X who encouraged people to be violent, King advocated peace.
In 1958, King published his first book, Stride Toward Freedom, which deals with his recollections of the Montgomery bus boycott.
On August 23, 1963, 250,000 people gathered in Washington D.C and marched to the Capitol Building to support the passing of laws that guaranteed every American equal civil rights. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered his "I have a dream" speech.
In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated by James Earl Ray. His death did not slow down the Civil Rights Movement. His widow, Coretta, continued to fight for freedom with Black and White people.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the third Monday in January a federal legal holiday commemorating Martin Luther King's birthday. King is the only Afro-American to have a legal holiday in America.
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