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Nowadays, "Martin Luther King, Jr." is synonymous to "I Have a Dream". It is a composition that when read, would tug at your heart and prod you to awakening. But who was the man behind "I Have a Dream"?
Borne by Alberta Williams King with Martin Luther King, Sr., Martin Luther King, Jr. came into the world 15 January 1929 in Georgia. He was a typical boy who grew up during a constricted time when blacks were heavily discriminated upon. In spite that, or perhaps because of that, Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up to be a man of strong conviction, compassionate and caring.
He was only 39 years old when he died, survived by his wife, Coretta Scott and their four children. He was assassinated in 4 April 1968 in Tennessee, where he was supposed to lead a protest. Knowing all these facts, is it enough to answer the question, "Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?" Perhaps, not.
Notwithstanding the importance of those details in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., one would be remiss if deeper study and discovery is not done on really who was Martin Luther King, Jr. So, looking at the kind of life he lead, the challenges he courageously faced, the heartaches he strongly endured might yield even just a slight peek of who was Martin Luther King, Jr.
Being a pastor like his father and his grandfather, he served as a shepherd to the flocks of both the Ebenezer Baptist Church and Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Atlanta and Alabama, respectively. While remaining faithful to his calling, he served as a member to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In the short life that he lived, he accomplished many a great things, provided a deep well of inspiration, especially for the African-American race.
All his endeavors have been mostly for the plight of the blacks, who during his time, as he said in his "I Have a Dream" speech, were still strongly discriminated upon. But his heart was not only for the African-American people because he also fought for the rights of the other underprivileged sectors of society. He longed for a society where equality is the norm.
Always open to the harsh reality of the imperfections in life, he never stopped being hopeful about the journey that each one could take toward perfection. Never a violent person, he always opted for the most peaceful way to get his message across. Having Mahatma Gandhi as one of his influences, that is hardly surprising.
Although the life Martin Luther King, Jr. was short, accolades of his person and his work weren't. Leaders of different eras worked with him on various socio-civic undertakings, attesting to the fact that they recognized, understood, and accepted him as an individual, as well as his views. He was the recipient of various awards and honorary citing, including one of the most coveted awards, the Nobel Peace Prize. If truth be told, he was the youngest recipient at the age of 35.
There could have more accomplishments by this man had his life been longer. Certainly, in this day and age, a leader of his stature will be welcomed anywhere by anyone. But today's generation need not fret because the man may have gone, but his words and the inspiration it can still summon from those who have the capacity to still care remain clear and intense. All that is needed is the kind of passion that this man had, the kind of hope that he never relinquished even at death's door, and the conviction that in the end, everything will be right.