January 14, 2021

By Betti Halsell

Contributing Writer


The message of peace and racial equality has been a legacy channeled through solicited speeches of balance; from the visionary activist, Martin Luther King, Jr., all communities have been impacted by the awareness that rose from the Civil Rights Movement. Through his leadership, King brought on new enlightenment.

He warned the nation of the pernicious effects of segregation and racial inequity, and fortified what the world is seeing today as a racial revolution of equality.

The roots of the world-renown activist are tied to the rural south in Atlanta, Georgia.




After the union of Alberta and Michael, Sr., they began to sew their heritage in the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Michael King, Jr. was born as the middle child on January 15, 1929.


The household was described to have a strong disciplinary father figure, met with the gentle hand and nurturing atmosphere, stemming from King’s mother.




Inspired by protestant-based historic events, led by a German professor of theology and priest, Martin Luther, Michael King, Sr. changed his name, taking Luther’s sir name, and Michael King, Jr. would eventually follow suit. This was the first incantation of reformed energy, entering an era of division.

The teachings of King’s parents installed a broader picture than the reality King faced, according to the information found on Biography.com, Martin, Sr. fought against racism, not only for the dangers that plagued the collective community, but he also rebuked the essence of racial imbalance and segregation because it displayed an extreme disregard to the act of God’s will.

With a strong sense of faith and equality, King grew up and journeyed out to develop his mind at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University. He was only 15 when he first attended Morehouse. Receiving an in-depth study of people, King graduated with a B.A. in sociology.

While working on his Doctorate at Boston University, he met his future wife, Coretta Scott and together they would later parent four children.  The world was still only able to see through a black and white lens.

Although he found his own way to spiritual enlightenment, King became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama.


At the age of 25, King completed his Ph.D and earned his degree. After he satisfied his appetite for learning in 1955, the universe presented him with a stage to speak.

Early December in that same year, Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus, and carried out an intentional strike. Parks refused to give her seat up for the comfort of her White constituent.

The night Parks was arrested, leadership from The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) met with King and other civil right leaders to plan the Montgomery Bus Boycott. As the elected leader, King took the reigns of the operation.



The influential power in his voice became clear after his first speech as the group’s president, he said, “We have no alternative but to protest.”

King declared, “For many years we have shown an amazing patience.


We have sometimes given our White brothers the feeling that we liked the way we were being treated.




But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice," rendering this quote from his profile on Biography.com.

King’s influence grew to a national level in 1957, after the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


It was the central hub for faith-based unity and shared goals of equality among Black communities located all over the country.

Being open to a variety of spiritual lessons, King gained strength from the insightful teachings by Mahatma Ghandi.

They consisted of a non-violence approach to change, peace and resilience were the pillars of King’s success in changing the nation.


He used it as armor as he fought the battle internally; dueling the minds that stood on the foundation for racism and segregation. 

Many milestones came to past, such as the Greensboro Sit-in, where King supported the youth in their efforts of a non-violent demonstration on their college campus, and the influential letter King wrote from his jail cell in Birmingham; it outlined the mission to peace for all Americans and the non-violent steps that would be used to reach that goal.


The Civil Rights Movement took hold in all major cities, from Chicago to Los Angeles.

The countless united efforts for equality fueled one of the greatest acts of civic protest on August 28, 1963.



It was the day King spoke of a dream at the Lincoln Memorial; he affirmed a vision where skin color does not work as a measurement for the available opportunity for freedom.


In his speech, King said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." 


Over 100,000 people heeded his words on Capitol Hill; his efforts were acknowledged when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, and his works are symbolic to the social change and revolution that America is seeing today.

Breaking through to legislative power, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enforced the desegregation of public places and outlawed the discrimination of facilities.



It was a major political shift that changed the tone of the country, but people of color were still feeling the rejection they lived through in the times of separation.


The marches protesting equality that are seen in present-day, still follow the footprints left behind by King and those who marched and protested alongside him.



His words still echo from Capitol Hill, as the first Black Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris announced her candidacy on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, in 2020.


King’s message for peace is timeless, and it continues to push the agenda of inclusivity forward. 


He laid down the framework to a solid diplomatic strategy, to resolve an issue that seemed impossible to overcome.


Although there are still bridges that need to be built in order to get to the promise land, there is also a wind blowing from the mountain top, carrying King’s message to keep moving forward.


Category: News