By Victor B.
What makes something (or someone) special? Is it the lives they touch? The actions they do? The impact they have, whether it be society at large, or just being a “family person”? In the case of this man, all the above.
On this April 4th in 1968, civil rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and buried in Memphis, Tennessee. Fittingly similar to his namesake, he was a visionary and reformer, whose actions led society of the darkness of yesterday into the brightness of today. His mission? Make the world a place where “[people] will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.
Perhaps King’s biggest legacy is the messages he spread. Preaching equality and love amongst all, he is remembered long after death for his all positive contributions towards the advancement of society at large. Perhaps the best insight into his thoughts can be seen in one of his numerous speeches, saying “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
King’s literal legacy are his four children: Yolanda, Bernice, Dexter and the self-named Martin III. Yolanda, sadly, passed away in 2007 due to a complications in a heart disease. All four, however, were incredibly supportive of their parents mission – to make America (and, eventually, the world) a better place.
The youngest laureate ever awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, King was a pastor from a young age, and in his devotion to Christianity, was eventually nominated to take up leadership of a year-long boycott of the contemporary United States at the time. From there, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, travelling to India to study and work with Mahatma Gandhi, another prominent civil rights activist. In the early 1960s, having been arrested several times, he wrote the inspiration for the eventual famous revolution in Alabama, fittingly titled “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In 1963, he was awarded TIME magazine’s “Man of the Year” prize, Five years later, he was assassinated on the balcony of a Memphis hotel with a single rifle wound to the chest. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, and several street names were changed in his honor. The Martin Luther King Memorial Statue is located in the National Mall in Washington, D.C..
King’s actions are a testament to the power of the individual, and the change one can make in the world. Thanks to him, this world has truly been made a better place, and his absence is sorely missed.
Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968