As a Baptist minister and social activist, Martin Luther King, Jr., also known by his given name Michael King, Jr., led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his assassination on April 4, 1968. King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, and died on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
For that effort to be successful in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other regions of the United States, his leadership was essential. As the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King gained national notoriety for advocating nonviolent methods of achieving racial rights, such as the sizable March on Washington in 1963.
His 1964 Nobel Peace Prize win was presented to him. King was shot at the Lorraine Motel at 6:05 PM on April 4, 1968, as he stood on a balcony outside his second-floor room. From a different position, one shot was heard. King passed away an hour after being transported to the hospital.
The assassination of King was allegedly planned by James Earl Ray. The truth is that JER had nothing to do with Dr. King’s death; the assassination was just another plot hatched by Lyndon B. Johnson, J Edgar Hoover, and perhaps the FBI.
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Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.?
On January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, Michael King Jr. became Martin Luther King Jr. The pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church and a pioneering figure in the civil rights movement was his father, Martin Luther King Senior, who was also named Michael.
Martin Luther, a German reformer, became known to his father when he visited the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin in 1934. Then he gave both of them the name Martin Luther instead of Michael.
A talented organist and choir director, his mother Alberta Williams King, raised him. Alfred Daniel Williams King was Michael’s younger brother, and Willie Christine King was the oldest of his parents’ three children. Michael was the second kid to be born.
The African-American Civil Rights Movement was led by Martin Luther King Jr. He deliberately avoided violence even as he battled against the injustice done to African-Americans. Although his operational methods were based on Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent campaign, his views were based on Christian principles.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was his foremost effort. As a result, racial segregation on Montgomery’s public transportation system was abolished, and King Jr. gained notoriety on a national scale and became the movement’s most vociferous voice. He then led a number of additional peaceful movements and delivered a number of motivational speeches.
Later, he widened the scope of his campaign and began to advocate for equitable employment opportunities. He ran one such campaign under the name “March to Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Twenty-nine times during his brief life, he was arrested.
He had a dream in which every person will one day be evaluated on the basis of their abilities rather than their skin tone. He was 39 years old when he was shot by a white supremacist.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter From Birmingham Jail
King’s effort to remove discrimination in hiring and at lunch counters in Birmingham, Alabama, in the spring of 1963 attracted worldwide notice when police used dogs and fire hoses on the protesters. Along with King, several of his supporters, including hundreds of schoolchildren, were imprisoned.
Not all of Birmingham’s Black clergy, however, supported him, and some of Birmingham’s White clergy, who had made a statement asking African Americans not to support the demonstrations, condemned him vehemently.
King collaborated with other civil rights leaders to plan the historic March on Washington near the end of the Birmingham campaign in an effort to unite the disparate forces for nonviolent change and to emphasise to the nation and the world how crucial it is to address the country’s racial issues.
More than 200,000 people of all races peacefully congregated in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, to demand equal justice for all people under the law. Here, King’s famous “I Have a Dream” address, in which he highlighted his hope that all men will one day be brothers, inspired the masses with its emotional heft and prophetic character.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which gave the federal government the power to enforce desegregation of public accommodations and criminalise discrimination in both employment and publicly owned facilities, was passed as a result of the growing tide of civil rights activism, as King had intended.
The Nobel Peace Prize being given to King in Oslo in December marked the culmination of that eventful year. King said in his acceptance speech, “I accept this honour today with an audacious optimism in the future of mankind and an enduring faith in America.”
I reject the notion that a man is ethically unable to rise to the level of the everlasting “oughtness” that he will always face because of the “isness” of his current nature.
Read More: Know About The Letter From Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr.
Montgomery Bus Boycott Movement
A teenager named Claudette Colvin broke the law in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white man. Colvin was detained and jailed for this adolescent. Rosa Parks, then 42, boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus to travel home after a long day at work.
She sat in the first row, which was the “coloured” portion of the bus, and this incident later led to the Montgomery bus boycott. All of the seats designated for the white part of the bus filled up as it began to proceed on its route, and a number of additional white passengers boarded after that.
The bus driver ordered that African Americans give up their seats after noticing that some white males were standing and that many African Americans were using the seats. Some of them reluctantly did so, but Parks refused to comply.
Parks was repeatedly asked to give up her seat by the bus driver; when she refused, this was deemed a violation of Montgomery City Code, and Parks was jailed as a result. Following Park’s arrest, E.D. Nixon, the local NAACP president, sat together with Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent local civil rights figures to plan and launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
King was chosen as the boycott’s leader because he was enthusiastic, youthful, well-educated, connected to his family, and had a strong professional status. With the Black community, King enjoys a very high level of credibility.
King’s speech also inspired the African American community, and the bus boycott movement that followed involved 382 days of walking to work as well as violence, harassment, and intimidation against the African American community of Montgomery.
The homes of the leaders, including those of King and Nixon, were attacked by the mob. On the other hand, the African American community also began to file legal complaints against these unfair practises.
Montgomery repealed the need for segregated public transportation after losing numerous lower court cases and the decisions rendered in them, as well as after incurring significant financial losses as a result of continuing to pursue legal action.
Who Killed Martin Luther King?
Martin Luther King was shot and died in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. King’s death provoked racial riots that killed 40 people and damaged 100 American towns. James Earl Ray, 40, confessed and was sentenced to 99 years. A recording of King saying he wants to be remembered for helping others was played at his burial.
King arrived in Tennessee on 3 April to prepare a march for striking Memphis sanitation workers. King stepped out onto room 306’s balcony to chat with SCLC colleagues. An assassin slashed his lower right face. Abernathy supported King’s head. Others on the balcony pointed to a South Main Street boardinghouse. Doctors pronounced King dead at 7:05 p.m.
7 April was a nationwide day of mourning under Johnson. The Oscars and other athletic events were postponed. Coretta Scott King marched in Memphis on 8 April to honour King and support sanitation workers. King’s funeral was in Atlanta the next day. JFK, Humphrey, and Bunche were there.
Benjamin Mays, president of Morehouse College, stated King “would believe there was no higher cause to die for than a fair wage for garbage collectors” (Mays, 9 April 1968). In Atlanta, 100,000 mourners accompanied King’s casket. After a ceremony at Morehouse, King was buried at South-View Cemetery. Later, it was moved to a crypt in King’s widow’s centre.
After the assassination, a policeman recovered a 30.06 Remington rifle nearby. The FBI’s biggest investigation headed to Atlanta. The apartment had James Earl Ray’s fingerprints. In April 1967, he fled from Missouri. FBI agents and Memphis police found evidence that Ray registered on 4 April at the South Main Street roominghouse and took a second-floor room with a view of the Lorraine Motel.
Ray’s suspicions prompted a global manhunt. Ray was extradited on July 19, 1968. After Ray pled guilty to murder in March 1969, Tennessee prosecutors dropped the death penalty. Ray recanted his confession after being sentenced to 99 years, calling the plea deal into question.
FBI and other government agencies’ intense surveillance of King following his assassination supported Ray’s argument. Louis Stokes chaired the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976, which reexamined the King and Kennedy assassinations. Study suggested Ray had accomplices. No government participation in King’s killing was found.
Ray recanted his guilty plea, claiming “Raoul” framed him. William F. Pepper, Ray’s lawyer, organised a televised phoney trial in 1993. The “jury” found Ray not guilty. Dexter Scott King endorsed Ray’s innocence during a televised jail visit in 1997. Ray died in prison on April 23, 1998, after Tennessee refused to reopen the case.
Ray’s death sparked conspiracy theories. Pepper won a civil verdict for King’s wife and children against Jim’s Grill owner Lloyd Jowers in 1999. Although the trial offered testimony contradicting the prior case against Ray, the Justice Department concluded in 2000 that its 1998 internal inquiry at the King family’s request had not discovered sufficient evidence to sustain a further investigation.
James Earl Ray
Outside of St. Louis, Ray was raised after being born in Alton, Illinois, in 1928. He had a bit of a wandering personality; after being expelled from the Army for intoxication, he had been working several jobs. Stealing and armed robbery appeared to be his main lines of work. He also firmly believed in segregation.
He was given a 20-year prison term at the Missouri State Penitentiary in March 1960 for stealing a number of grocery stores while on parole. He managed to flee in a bread box, though, and began on the run-in late April 1967. He had not been apprehended a year later.
The Lorraine Motel was directly across Mulberry Street from the boarding house where he rented a room in the afternoon of April 4, 1968. A balcony of the Lorraine could be seen from the communal bathroom on the second level. Investigators assumed Ray fired the fatal shot from where he was standing in the bathtub.
Ray ran away from the crime scene and travelled to Atlanta, Canada, and finally the UK. After a 10-month manhunt, Ray was eventually apprehended at Heathrow Airport in London. In his possession were two phoney Canadian passports. In exchange for a 99-year sentence, Ray entered a guilty plea in order to avoid the death penalty.
But a few days later, he said he had been duped and revoked his confession. He asserted that he had been falsely accused and that “Raoul,” a man he had met in Canada, was responsible for staging the whole incident. He claimed Raoul had instructed him to rent a lodging in Memphis and to buy the gun in Birmingham. He also said he wasn’t even there when the incident happened.
Many people questioned whether Ray even took any action at all, given the FBI’s treatment of King and the knowledge that John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Robert F. Kennedy had all previously been killed. The government-led inquiries into the deaths of King and JFK were eroding the public’s faith.
A resolution to create the House Select Committee on Assassinations, or HSCA, was passed by the House in 1976. They discovered the extent of the FBI’s persecution of King during their probe, but there was no murderous plan. They did, however, find another thing.
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