Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

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Martin Luther King Jr.


Christians who volunteer for aid organisations such as CAFOD make
great sacrifices. They choose to endanger their lives by traveling to
war struck countries so that they may help others, living out Jesus'
message in the Gospel.

Priests, monks and nuns make great sacrifices too they give up their
lives to follow God.A Christian from modern times whose life was
affected by Jesus' teaching on discipleship was Martin Luther King Jr.
King was one of the principal leaders of the American civil rights
movement of the 1950s and 60s, which fought against segregation of
black and white people and demanded equal rights for all. King
followed the example of Jesus, who spread his message peacefully, by
carrying out nonviolent protests and by morally upholding the Gospel
message. His demands for equal rights for all echoed Jesus' who said
both Gentiles and Jews could become Christians.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a
Baptist Minister. Following in his fathers footsteps he was ordained a
Baptist Minister at just 18. He then attended university where
professors praised him for the impression he made in public speeches
he gave and discussions he was involved in, skills that he would use
in his famous speeches as leader of the American civil rights
movement. While at university he studied Ghandi and his teachings on
non-violent protests. Gandhi who managed to achieve Indian
independence from Britain peacefully. King felt like God sent him to
use his public speaking ability to campaign against segregation.

King had a leading role in the Montgomery bus strike, he was elected
as the president of the Montgomery improvement society. The black
people were protesting against the Montgomery bus company because they
introduced a rule saying that a black person had to give up their seat
for a white person. He was chosen by Egdar D. Nixon, a leader of the
NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People),
who was impressed by the power and emotion in his speeches.

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The
protest lasted for more than a year and demonstrated a new spirit of
protest among southern blacks. King also made a positive impact on
white people outside southern USA, due to his nonviolent philosophy
and appeals to Christian nature. During the protest, King's house was
bombed but despite this danger to him and his family, he carried on,
showing he lived through hardship to do God's work as a disciple.

He organized many peaceful demonstrations against the poor treatment
of black people in the U.S.A, many of which were a success. During one
of the demonstrations, King was arrested and sent to jail. The same
happened to Jesus, (Mark: 14:43-51), proving again that he was willing
to face hardship to carry out his work as a disciple of Jesus. King's
"Letter from Birmingham City Jail", which argued that individuals had
the moral right and responsibility to disobey unjust laws was similar
to when Jesus healed a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath.
"Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save
life or to kill", (Mark: 3:4). Like Jesus, King was prepared to
disobey laws if it meant working for the greater good, again showing
he was a good disciple by following Jesus' message.

Luther King's efforts as leader of the civil rights movement led to
the civil rights act of 1964, which prohibited segregation in public
places amongst other things. Due to this achievement and his highly
visible Christian moral stance he was awarded the coveted 1964 Nobel
Prize for peace. But all good things come to an end, King would make
the ultimate sacrifice for his cause.

In 1968 King was assassinated by a white racist. Thanks to his strong
leadership of the civil rights movement, black people now have equal
rights. After his death he came to represent courage and achievement
in his struggle for equal rights. He also proved the effectiveness of
peaceful demonstrations. He showed great devotion to God as a
disciple, through his peaceful philosophy and his motto "meet hate
with love".
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