Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 16"x20"
SKU ID #292632
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In December, 1955, civil rights activist Rosa Parks sat in the white's only section of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus and was arrested for violating the Alabama segregation laws. Black residents formed a boycott (that lasted for 381 days), and elected King head of the newly formed Montgomery Improvement Association. Twelve months later, the Supreme Court declared Alabama's segregation laws unconstitutional. In 1957, King and other southern black ministers founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which was organized to provide new leadership for the civil rights movement. As president, King's emphasis was the establishment of black voting rights and he made this clear when he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial during the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. In 1959 King toured India to increase his understanding of Gandhian non-violent strategies.
In early 1963, King and SCLC led mass demonstrations in Birmingham that produced violent police reactions. Spurred by these demonstrations, President Kennedy submitted legislation which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the demonstrations, King was arrested for violating a court order against staging protests. While in the Birmingham jail he wrote the famous "Letter from a Birmingham jail," a manifesto of the Negro revolution. It was addressed to a group of Birmingham clergy who had asked him not to stage a protest.
A quote from the letter: "We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed." In August of the same year he lead 250,000 people in a peaceful march in Washington, D.C., and from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his famous address, "I have a dream."
Later in 1963, he became Time magazine's Man of the Year, and in 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed. King turned his attention to addressing problems in the urban North and was met with much resistance in the Chicago area and that generated conflict within the black community for King's not engaging in more "Black Power" strategies.
On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, while supporting a garbage workers strike.