MLK: THE STRUGGLE
LJ Thorpe, first year writing UNC Asheville student
As I made my way around the peace garden, a portrait of Martin Luther King struck me. The picture could stand out in a room full of darkness. The picture was larger than the ones around it; he was the only subject who was black; but, the most important thing, the portrait was black-and-white. For me, that captured the essence of who he was as a person. Dr. King was a man who saw the world clearly and wanted to make blacks and whites come together as one, as equals. I have admired Dr. King since my parents taught me about him when I was young boy. When I read his “I have a dream” speech, I realized how great he really was. Although Martin Luther King Jr was loved for his contributions in the African American civil rights movement, for the same reasons, many hated him. The ways he overcame all the obstacles in front of him led to his lasting legacy. His struggle and his success were bigger than himself.
Martin Luther King faced many obstacles while he battled for equality for all. Some of these obstacles were based on the love-hate dilemma; others were actual acts of physical restraint and violence against him. While many people of all races liked King, the majority of Americans did not because they found the civil rights movement wrong and unnecessary (Cobb, James. C. (2018, April 4) Even Though He Is Revered Today, MLK Was Widely Disliked by the American Public When He Was Killed). Many whites didn’t agree with the civil rights movement and the civil rights act. The civil rights act ended unfair and unequal voter registration requirements and prohibited racial segregation in schools, workplaces and all public facilities (History.com (2010, January 4) Civil Rights Act of 1964). The whites know this act as the most over-reaching law because it gave the backs rights and made it illegal to treat others wrong just because of their skin.
Another big contribution to people not liking King was his stand against the Vietnam War. At the National Mall, he spoke in front of 3,000 people stating that the U.S. was testing weapons on the Vietnamese people the same way that the Germans performed tests on Holocaust victims (History.com (2009, November 16) Martin Luther King Jr. speaks out against the war). This hurt his position in the black community and many black leaders also criticized him. Many Americans disapproved of King’s speech at the National Mall. So did the FBI, which saw it as a provocation and called him “the most dangerous man in America.” The FBI watched Dr. King closely. U.S. Lawyer General Robert F. Kennedy committed what is generally seen as a standout amongst the most shameful acts in present day American history; he approved the FBI to start wiretapping the phones of Martin Luther King Jr. Kennedy trusted that one of King's nearest counsels was an individual from the American Communist Party, and
that King had over and over again lied to Administration authorities about his continuous close ties with the man (Sit, Ryan (2018, January 1) Here’s What The FBI Had On Martin Luther King Jr).
Because he protested, he was arrested twenty times; he was violently attacked several times. He received multiple death threats and was stabbed; and his house was set afire. None of this stopped King from delivering the “I have a dream” speech, from getting his book published, and from changing the way the whites and blacks views each other publicly. Because King was hated by many for his beliefs and his actions, he knew people were out to kill him. Being that Martin Luther King was seen as a dangerous man and bad for the government, his death didn’t surprise the community. After his death, even more obstacles were thrown at him. Including the following: King was surrounded by advisers with strong links to the Communist Party USA, His statements were always subject to approval by the alleged communist sympathizers, He was a secret supporter of communism, His organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, set up a "tax dodge" to raise funds for its activities, King took part in "drunken sex orgies" and coerced young women to participate, and He had love affairs with at least four women, including folk singer Joan Baez. These accusations stirred trouble within his family because they could never find out if they were actually true or not, being that the
accusations came out after his death.
Martin Luther King said, “a riot is the sound of the unheard” in an interview he did with a male reporter whose name is not known (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_ehNV2IwjE). King also brought publicity to major civil rights activities and efforts, emphasized and encouraged the importance of non-violent protest and resistance, and lastly, provided leadership to the African-American civil rights movement.
Martin Luther King’s legacy is filled with a lot of things. An important one to me is that he wanted to protest non-violently and legally. We could carry forward his legacy by decreasing police brutality and violence against the police. It works both ways; police have been targeted, which makes them feel obligated to target others before they get them.
This essay has made me see all the ups and downs that Martin Luther King Jr had to go through just to help our country. Everything he did was to help us and I want all of you who will visit the peace to recognize this because that’s what this peace garden represents to me. Togetherness! By the time he died he was disliked by many, although, he was still known for his many achievements and contributions to getting rid of segregation and letting the people live
together in peace. The best way to preserve Dr. King’s ideas would be to try our best to love every person regardless of their race or color of their skin. Practicing peaceful protesting would be a way of preserving his ideas. An overall view of his ideas included: Initially, he wanted change. There is no proof that he needed to begin another development. He didn't plan to begin the Protestant Reformation.
Second, he needed administrative maltreatment to stop. He believed that it was harming the church.
Lastly, King stood by his own voice, which was given to home from God. Basically saying that his heart was hostage to the Word of God and that he couldn't go against God.
Nowadays, people have a habit of judging people without even getting to know them or even talking to them. The thing that makes it worse is that people aren’t even giving them a chance.
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Garrow, D. (2018). The FBI and Martin Luther King. [online] The Atlantic. Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/07/the-fbi-and-martin-luther-king/302537/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2018].
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Murphey, D. D. (2003). Understanding America: The Martin Luther king Myth. The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 28(3), 325-353. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.wncln.wncln.org/docview/216810754?accountid=8388
YouTube. (2018). BBC Face to Face| Martin Luther King Jr Interview (1961). [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df4fycfda10 [Accessed 12 Nov. 2018].