Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Memorial Statue
Photo by Elizabeth Villalta from Unsplash

From Dec. 1955 to Apr. 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the American civil rights movement. While Dr. King only led the movement for a short time, he accomplished more than the previous 350 years had in terms of progress. To represent him and his accomplishments, Dr. King has been memorialized in many ways as a leader whose teachings are necessary to the progress of humankind. His accomplishments are now taught in schools all over the country and studied by scholars worldwide.

Dr. King’s main goal was to achieve legal equality for Black Americans. While his counterparts were willing to achieve these goals using any method, he didn’t share these beliefs and wanted to achieve this without violence. Dr. King was, and continues to be, a symbol of civil disobedience. Most people only know him for this, but he also campaigned for other things such as fighting poverty and international conflict.

His Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, along with his “I Have a Dream” speech and his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” are among the most impactful writings within the English language.

On Dec. 10, 1964, at the auditorium in the University of Oslo, Dr. King accepted his Nobel Peace Prize. He was the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the time at 35, which has since been surpassed by four others. When referencing him, most people think of his “I Have a Dream” speech, and this speech is very important and impactful as well. It can be watched here.

Most people believe that the climax of his speech was when he said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” This is believed because this quote was him basically saying people didn’t think this fight could be fought without the use of violence but we did it, we took the high road. I think an equally or even more impactful portion of this speech was when he said, “Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.” I think in this quote he is saying that the fight he is fighting is nowhere close to being over, but people are acting like it’s over just because segregation was made illegal. Even though segregation was made illegal doesn’t mean that discrimination will just stop or that people of color in America will cease being treated in unjust ways.

While Dr. King made large strides in this movement, the fight is still not over and most likely won’t be for a long time. Even though the Civil Rights movement has come a long way since the ‘60s, including the rise of new social movements such as Black Lives Matter, I think that the movement is not where he hoped it would have been and he would be disappointed if he could see how much more progress we still need to go to achieve true equality.