April 4th, 1968; a day to never forget

On April 4 th , 1968, around 6:00 in the afternoon, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. MLK preached of non-violent protest to solve the racial injustice in America at the time, especially in the south. He was aware that he would be arrested, ridiculed, and eventually killed, but he went forward without stopping. The story of MLK is awfully similar to the story of Jesus Christ, except the resurrection, of course. MLK was born on January 15 th , 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia; the capital of the “KKK”. His original name was Michael, but his father would change both his son’s and his own to Martin in 1934. The reason for the change was to attend the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin, Germany. The name was in honor of German reformer Martin Luther. Later, MLK would attend Brooker T Washington High School. He skipped two grades and entered Morehouse College at the age of 15. After high school, MLK would enroll at the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester , Pennsylvania and graduate in 1951. Two years later, MLK married Coretta Scott, who was a civil rights activist and eventually an active leader of the Women’s Movement. They were married on the lawn of Coretta’s parent’s house in Heilberger, Alabama. They had four children in their marriage. MLK was a Baptist minister, who was just a civil right activist early in his career. From there he led movements like the Montgomery Bus Boycott following the Rosa Parks event in 1955. MLK became the president of the SCLC, ( Southern Christian Leadership Conference ) in 1957. He also led a movement in Albany, Georgia that turned out to be a failure. In Birmingham, MLK’s non-violent movement received a negative vibe after the police brutally abused the protestors. MLK received many death threats from many people, and even received advice from the FBI that he should commit suicide, but MLK kept going forward through the fire. In 1958, he was nearly killed by Izola Curry while at a book signing in New York. He was stabbed by a pair of mail cutters that almost severed his aorta. MLK was told that if he had sneezed he would have been dead. Later, MLK received a letter from a little white girl saying that she was glad that he didn’t sneeze. In 1964, MLK received the Nobel Peace Prize for using non-violent protest to combat racial inequality. The day MLK was shot changed the entire mood of America like never before. Mrs. Fiorino, worker in the Alumni Development office, said she was in Miami, Florida on her honeymoon. They were out to dinner waiting for a table when the news came on the television. “There’s going to be a lot of trouble,” said Mrs. Fiorino at the moment of the news. When she got home and off the airplane, all the exits were blocked by the National Guard due to rioting. They needed to show their IDs and give a reason for going through Cincinnati. “Things were chaotic in Cincinnati,” said Mrs. Fiorino. She added, “It made people more tolerant or more hateful.” Another ADOworker, Mr. Heile, was at the hospital while his wife was giving birth to their son, Michael. Back then they shared a room with another African American couple. When the news broke about the assassination of MLK, the atmosphere in the room changed, he said it was “difficult”. ”It had nothing to do with us, but you could feel it,” said Mr. Heile. The impact on these two Elder workers were tense, but the effect on the rest of America was even greater. “ I think the death of a man so openly dedicated to peace opened more Americans’ eyes to the problems that we, as a people, still needed to address. I think the assassinations of the Kennedys, Dr. King and Malcolm X crippled the movement. These men were all visionaries and world class leaders. They are not easily replaced,” said English teacher/ Other Voices teacher Mr. Ahlers. “Dr. King’s influence is significant and will never be forgotten,” added Mr.Ahlers. “I feel like he’s the most powerful American leader to live,” said senior Chirs Mattress. Mattress went on to talk about how America was changed by the example MLK set with non-violent protest toward violent oppression. “He stood up to his word no matter the consequences,” added Mattress. The day before MLK was killed; he gave his final speech called “I have seen the mountaintop”. MLK talked about seeing the day that white and black people would walk side by side. He told the people that he would not make it to the end but he would be there with them in spirit. He knew his time was coming to the end as did Jesus at the Last Super. He also exemplified civil disobedience toward the unlawful government system in the south and knew he would be put in prison, just as Jesus did. I’m not saying he is the Messiah, but he showed the world how to live a Christ-like life as a regular citizen.