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A Dream Of Equality

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A Dream of Equality

On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. King was born in a nice community that had a low amount of crime with many of his neighbors being very religious. Martin Luther King Jr.'s father was a well respected clergyman in the community. His father did his best to protect his family from the harsh realities of racism and segregation and was the person most responsible for King becoming a man of faith. Throughout his early childhood, King and his brother Alfred Martin were subject to strict corporal punishment from their father. But all his life King still had nothing but love and respect for his father. When he was twelve years old, King began doubting his faith. When he left to Morehouse College he thought about entering the fields of medicine or law. After graduating from Morehouse with a degree in sociology, King attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania and earned a bachelor's degree in divinity.

One of the first stands against discrimination that King was a part of dealt with public transportation. In Montgomery, Alabama, the first ten seats in a public bus were reserved for whites only and the last ten seats were reserved for blacks. But if there were empty white seats towards the front of the bus and the rest of the seats were full, blacks were forced to stand. After years of being mistreated by racist bus drivers, the African American community had had enough and decided to boycott the bus system in Montgomery. On December 5, 1955, a group of black ministers asked Martin Luther King Jr. to be the spokesman for the protest. King accepted the job and inspired the black community to boycott the bus system. In his speeches, King emphasized basic Christian values and American democracy. He maintained a balance of militancy and moderation. King inspired people to be angry about what was going on and at the same time inspired them to maintain their composure and be responsible. The goal of the bus boycott in Montgomery was to get the city to hire black bus drivers. Blacks all over Montgomery stopped using the public buses. In order to help the people that were boycotting to get to work, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) organized a car pool. However, soon after the car pool started police began stopping the drivers, questioning, and arresting them. It wasn't long until King himself was arrested. Four days later when King got out of jail a stick of dynamite blew up his porch. King also was a victim of threatening phone calls. But King kept his idea of non-violent resistance and stopped an angry black mob from rioting by giving a speech saying "We must meet violence with nonviolence"( Page 25). At one point over eighty black leaders of MIA, including twenty-four ministers, were indicted for violating an anti-boycott law. When they showed up to court, thousands of blacks showed up to show their support. This backfired on the whites because they were expecting the accused blacks to skip town but instead they showed up very relaxed and confident. As the boycott continued, many black leaders came to meet King, including Bayard Rustin. It was Rustin that helped inspire King to turn towards a more Gandhi like approach to nonviolence. After much deliberation, King decided to have keep nonviolence as a principle he will not change and he made sure that his drivers and bodyguards did not carry weapons anymore. In April 1956 the Chicago-based company that ran the buses in Montgomery was willing to end segregation in the buses. However it wasn't until June 5 that the three-man Montgomery city council ruled that bus segregation discriminated against blacks and ruled it as being unconstitutional. After all the appeals were over and done with, on December 21, 1956, King rode an integrated bus in Montgomery for the time. The Montgomery bus boycott lasted for 381 days and was a landmark victory for blacks all over the country.

After the achieving victory in Alabama, King was pressured to continue his success. It was in 1960 when four young black students decided to sit in a "white only" lunch counter until they were served. As each day passed that the students were not served, more and more students came to sit in with them. When King heard about what was going on he was busy lobbying for the presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Originally, King simply applauded the students and was not going to get involved. But after being pressured by members of the black community, King joined the sit-ins. For his participation he was arrested and jailed for



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