Saturday, April 3, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. - Assassinated April 4, 1968

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929 – April 4, l968

Place of birth: Atlanta, Georgia. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father also served, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor.

While in college in Boston he met and married Coretta Scott. Two sons and two daughters were born.

Movement: African-American Civil Rights Movement and Peace movement.

Major organizations: President of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) 1957

Notable prizes: Nobel Peace Prize (1964)

Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977, posthumous)

Congressional Gold Medal (2004, posthumous)

Alma mater: Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary,Boston University

Religion: Baptist

Influences: Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Benjamin Mays, Hosea Williams, Rosa Parks, Bayard Rustin, Henry David Thoreau, Howard Thurman, Leo Tolstoy.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. 

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

Dr. King's April 4, 1967 speech "A Time to Break Silence: Declaration of Independence from the Vietnam War" was profound and a stark warning against endless war.
He said “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered. .... 
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." (MLK, April 4, 1967)
The speech was delivered in the Riverside Church in New York City, to the clergy and laymen concerned about Viet Nam.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room
in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated. He was killed exactly one year to the day after his greatest speech – against the War on Viet Nam. (in case one misses the symbolism)

The King family publicly stated that the federal government killed Dr. King and that James Earl Ray was just a patsy who was framed (Dexter King even met with Ray in his prison and they sought, without success, to get Ray the trial he never had).
In December 1999, after Ray's death in prison, the King family won a federal lawsuit against some of the perpetrators of the assassination. The jury found that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the victim of a murder conspiracy - not a lone gunman. This astounding jury verdict is rarely mentioned by the media. The facts are fairly straightforward, confirmed by a federal jury verdict and endorsed by the King family.

The best way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy is to work for a world beyond militarism, for non-violence and economic justice.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1967 Speech Against War and Injustice - Timely Today. You can find complete copies of the speech on line, also on youtube. Please take the time to view them. You will see that if you change the words Viet Nam to Iraq and Afghanistan, the speech could be relevant today.

Tomorrow marks the 42nd anniversary of his assassination.

They slew the dreamer - long live the dream.

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