The White Falcon

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The White Falcon - 11.01.1980, Blaðsíða 5

The White Falcon - 11.01.1980, Blaðsíða 5
January 11, 1980 The White Falcon Page 5 Martin Luther King, Jr. His spirit lives on WASHINGTON (NES)—On Wednesday the nation will observe the anniversary of the birthdate of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. King was a quiet, peaceful man—a minister who was catapulted into national and world prominence by events that were taking place around him and by a conscience that would not let him stand idly by. It is appropriate that at this time we review the ac- complishments of this religious man who was to stir a nation from its lethargy and who would die violently a martyr in the cause of human civil rights. When black America ran out of patience, reared up and roared for "Action Now" the majority of white America was unprepared for it—es- pecially in the 50s and 60s. It wasn't uncommon to hear whites say- ing "They're pushing too hard, for too much, too soon. Why do they want it all right now; why can't they work it out through the courts instead of the streets?" There were answers to these ques- tions , answers that went, for the most part, unheeded. A number of black leaders tried to explain to their white countrymen why black Americans were so restive. One of the nation's greatest black leaders, to emerge during this time was a quiet man, a pastor, who at first spoke from his pulpit—the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. : "We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet- like speed toward the goal of pol- itical independence and we still creep at a horse-and-buggy pace, toward the gaining of a cup of cof- fee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segrega- tion to say 'wait'." Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929. It did not take long for the shy, sensitive child to discover the black's plight in the deep south. Though subjected to the indignities common to that place and time he continued to shy away from violence and maintained a feeling of Christian charity. In his college years he would become a disciple of Mohandas K. Gandhi's concept of non-violence. Upon graduation from Boston Uni- versity, King took up the ministry in Montgomery, Ala. His oratory at the pulpit soon stroked the fire of hope in his parishioners, who had, for years, accepted white domination as a way of life. It didn't take long for the white population to take notice of him and to instigate violent incidents. Then in December 1955, a seemingly insignificant in- cident took place that was to spark the black revolution, Seamstress, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white pas- senger. There followed a year-long boy- cott of the bus line, organized by blacks of the newly formed Montgom- ery Improvement Association. Though reluctant to accept the post because he was relatively new to the city, King was named President of the as- sociation. After a year of violence on the part of segregationist whites and steadfast adherence to King's non-violent principles by his fol- lowers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Jim Crow seating in public transportation. King had fought and destroyed the system that "gave the segregator a false sense of super- iority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. As he steadily grew more active and gained prominence in the fight for equality, King continued exhor- ting black Americans to adopt non- violence as their exclusive form of social protest. King was now the guiding light in the black revolution for justice and equality—he was the right man, in the right place at the right time. His work would earn him praise, criticism and physical injuries as well as the Nobel Prize. After the successful boycott against the bus line, King attempted to resume his private life and min- istry. But the spirit of the revo- lution had spread throughout the south and King soon found himself again on the front, issuing a call to southern black leaders to meet with him to coordinate the many pro- test groups that were making them- selves felt. This meeting became the first meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King was chosen as presi- dent of the SCLC, designed to coor- dinate all civil rights organiza- tions. King's next target was southern segregation of public snack bars, facilities and stores. Again, the road to victory was paved with viol- ence and sacrifice. But King and the nation saw the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Next his campaign for black voter registra- tion brought about the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Up to this point he had been fighting open segregation in the South. It was now time to look north of the Mason-Dixon Line, to black unemployment, housing and school segregation and slums. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King's non-violent forces were met with such violence that he was moved to comment after one confron- tation in Chicago during which he was injured. "I have seen many dem- onstrations in the South, but I have never seen any so hostile and so hateful as I have seen here today." This only served to strengthen his resolve. His thoughts at the time turned to the Vietnam War—he opposed it and made his stand on the issue clear. Now, in addition to his work in civil rights, he began a campaign against the war. King left the North briefly in March 1968, when black saniation workers in Memphis, Tenn., left their jobs in a dispute over wages. He went to aid them in their pro- test. A march organized by King through the streets of Memphis was turned into a bloody riot by young black militants who saw non-violance as too slow a solution. Sixty-two per- sons were injured, 200 arrested and a 16-year-old black lay dead. King was crestfallen. He decided to try again. On April 4, 1968, King spent the day in a second floor motel room plan- ning for the march. Later in the afternoon he left his room and stood on the balcony overlooking the motel court. He was talking to Jesse Jackson, an aide, and Ben Branch, a musician, who was to play at the rally. A shot rang out; Dr. King fell. With- in minutes the Reverend Martin Lu- ther King Jr. was dead. By JOC Dan Guzman

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