"I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was struck in the neck by a sniper bullet, ending his influential life. King had traveled to Memphis, Tennessee in order to support the African American sanitation workers (Noble Prize). He was standing on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel when the bullet struck him. Following King’s assassination, Robert F. Kennedy gave a speech regarding the assassination. Kennedy was the first to inform much of the audience about the tragic event, causing some of the audience “to scream and wail,” (Klein). Kennedy realized that the audience would be angry so he remarked, "For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with -- be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man” (Klein). Over his lifetime, King preformed many influential acts for the Civil Rights Movements including:
Protest in Birmingham, Alabama
Martin Luther King Jr. used nonviolent actions to defy the laws that others and himself considered unfair. Birmingham in the early 1960s was considered one of the most racially discriminated cities in the United States (Encyclopedia of Alabama).
"Letter from a birmingham jail"
This letter endeavors to rationalize the extreme need for nonviolent action within the civil rights movement, to convey his disappointment in the church who has not lived up to the proper responsibilities as people of God, and the immorality of unjust laws. The letter was written while King served time in a Birmingham prison for his participation in the Birmingham Campaign .
"I have a Dream" Speech
King delivered this speech on the Lincoln Memorial lawn facing the Washington Monument. The speech was delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (US Constitution). King uses the speech as a call for the end of racism.
King, along with a few others, organized a march to Montgomery. On their first attempt, they were attacked by mobs. This attack became known as Blood Sunday, and was a major turing point in the Civil Rights Movement (Klein).
"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."
-Martin Luther King Jr.