AN I N D I V I D U ALW O R K I N G F O RM O R AL I T Y, J U S T I C EAN D P E AC EMartin Luther King Jr
Background of Martin Luther King Jr Martin Luther King was born inAtlanta in 1929 to a school teacherand Baptist minister. King‟s family was very religiousand he was immersed in theChurch. He decided to become aminister. King entered Morehouse Collegeat the age of 15 and graduated in1948 with a Bachelor of ArtsDegree in Sociology.
Background of Martin Luther King King enrolled in Crozer TheologicalSeminary in Chester, Pennsylvaniawhere he graduated with a Bachelorof Divinity Degree in 1951 King began his ministry in 1954 asthe pastor of Dexter Avenue BaptistChurch in Montgomery, Alabama. He received a Doctorate ofPhilosophy in Systematic Theologyfrom Boston University on June 5,1955.
King‟s Motivation to Act King‟s motivation to act morally can be attributed tohis background in faith as well as his education intheology. Key Catholic teachings that influence his actions arerelated to the Church‟s understanding of the dignityof the human person, most notably: Genesis and The Catechism of the Catholic Church:"dignity of the human person is rooted in his or her creationin the image and likeness of God…all human beings in asmuch as they are created in the image of God, have thedignity of a person and should be treated equally.”
King‟s Motivation to Act King‟s exposure to the world through his educationpushed him to make a decision to act in response tothe injustices of the world.“[My study and travel to poorercountries revealed] the complexityof man’s social involvement and theglaring reality of collective evil”
King‟s Context and Further Motivation Massive disparity betweenthe treatment of AfricanAmericans and „white‟Americans; lack ofequality. December 1, 1955, RosaParks took a stand for herrace by refusing to giveher seat to a whitepassenger. This was thecatalyst for the CivilRights Movement.
Ethical and Moral Actions1. King assumed a leadership role in theAmerican Civil Rights Movement Executive of National Association for the Advancement ofColoured People (NACCP) Lead and organised Montgomery Bus Boycott eventuallychanged the laws around segregated buses President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference(SCLC) Only used non-violent strategies to stand againstoppression
Ethical Actions“Nonviolence meansavoiding not onlyexternal physicalviolence but alsointernal violence ofspirit. You not onlyrefuse to shoot aman, but you refuseto hate him.”
Ethical and Moral Actions2. Promoted Justice and Peace across America and the World King decided to visit India to learn how he could apply Gandhi‟sstrategies of non-violent protests successfully in the USA topreserve the dignity of the human person and promote justice andpeace Spoke over 2500 times and led nonviolent demonstrations as aresult; his goal in these speeches was to spread the message ofunity and peace – NOT that African American people deserved„better,‟ but that each person should be treated the same. Most notably, King gave his “I have a dream” speech at the Marchon Washington for Jobs and Freedom Actions led to Civil Rights Acts of 1964
“Darkness cannot drive outdarkness; only light can do that.Hate cannot drive out hate; onlylove can do that.”
Ethical and Moral Actions3. King was involved in the “Poor People’sCampaign” to promote the idea that equality couldonly be achieved when the poorest people in thecommunity were given fairer access to economicand social resources as well as the right to vote He opposed the Vietnam War as he believed that themoney could be better spent on the country‟s owndisadvantaged King believed aid was needed for people of all races;this led to the Economic Bill of Rights in America
“I want you to say that day that I tried tobe right on the war question. I want you tobe able to say that day that I did try tofeed the hungry. I want you to be able tosay that day that I did try in my life toclothe those who were naked. I want you tosay on that day that I did try in my life tovisit those who were in prison. And I wantyou to say that I tried to love and servehumanity.”
Challenges King was constantly harassed wherever he went;simply because of the colour of his skin and thebeliefs that he held He was under surveillance by the FBI for years,noted as “the most dangerous negro” Many of the peaceful protests were attended bythose who opposed King and the beliefs of hisgroups; they often were violent Bomb threats and death threats were common King was arrested multiple times
Despite the ChallengesKing continued to peacefully protest for equality, to maintain the dignity of all people, and to ensure the rights of all people, especiallyin education and basic rights
Legacy Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated whilstsupporting a worker‟s strike in Tennessee. Despite a man being arrested and charged with hisdeath (as with many famous assassinations) there ismuch controversy and many conspiracy theoriesabout his death. King‟s legacy is encompassed in the inalienablerights of the people that he fought for