How I See MLK, Jr.

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” I decided, after a long silence on this page, to make some basic and perhaps obvious observations.

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) was an American. He was born and reared in America. His rise to power and influence was probably more likely here than anywhere else. Not all Americans were segregationists who wanted to hold black people down, and he had white Americans who marched with him. It’s true that his activist approach of non-violent resistance was influenced by Mahatma Ghandi, an Indian. But Ghandi, in turn, was influenced by writings of Henry David Thoreau, an American.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian. He drew guidance from the teachings of Jesus, especially the sermon on the mount, and the calls to love one’s neighbors as oneself and to turn the other cheek. His skills as an orator were honed in numerous church sermons.

MLK was known to some of his aids as “Doc.” He was the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. He valued education and obtained a Ph. D. in theology from Boston University.

In 1934, his father changed both their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German monk who courageously set out to reform the Catholic Church of the middle ages and set the stage for the Protestant Reformation. Likewise, with similar courage, MLK was a prime mover in the reformation of civil rights in America.

While primarily devoted to getting America to live up to the promises of its founding, King also pointed toward the need to correct other social evils like family breakups, high crime rates, illegitimacy, and swollen relief rolls. These are problems that some present day leaders blame for declines in American society.

If young Americans need role models, they could do worse than to consider, among others, this well-educated, American, religious, civil rights reformer.

Dwight Boud

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by VIRGINIA WALN on August 29, 2013 at 10:15 am



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