A truly great man once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
That man was Martin Luther King Jnr, and today marks the 50th anniversary of his passing.
Martin Luther King Jnr. was an American Baptist minister and political activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1954 through 1968.
He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights by using the tactics of non-violence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and was inspired by the non-violent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
Aged just 39 when he died, King was the driving force behind a mass-movement to secure legal rights for African American people in the US – between 1954 up to his assassination in Memphis on the 4th April 968.
A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, King donated the prize money ($400,000) to the Civil Rights movement.
During his life’s work, King gave over 2,500 speeches – including the historic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech which he delivered to an audience of 250,000 demonstrators in Washington, DC.
His death led to riots in many cities and in March 1969, James Earl Ray was found guilty of killing King. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison, where he died in 1998.
In his short life Martin Luther King played a crucial role in changing the lives of African American’s forever – and today we remember him.
Today his legacy lives on in all corners of the world in those whose goal is fighting racism and ending all forms of discrimination.
Normally, we only publish community stories and highlight local events and successes, but we think Martin Luther King’s struggle for racial equality, so inspired others to change their societies through non-violent means, from the Solidarity movement’s cracking of Soviet occupation in Poland to Nelson Mandela’s struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, needs special recognition. His message of harmonious community integration, still filters down to us all today, not only internationally but equally at local levels.