| Martin Luther King ranks among the greatest political
strategists of all time.
He was indeed one of the most influential men of recent times.
The basic goal that dominated his life was: substantial
equality for Americans. From the mid 1950s until late 60s, he
was the most important leader of a non violent civil rights
movement that transformed the American politics and inspired
oppressed people throughout the world. His philosophy of non
violence was a mix of the teachings of Jesus Christ and M K
Born on January. 15, 1929, in Georgia, Atlanta, in the
United States, King came from a family steeped in the tradition
of the Southern black ministry. Both his father and maternal
grandfather were Baptist preachers. Just at the age of 15 he
entered Morehouse College, Atlanta, under a special program for
gifted students. It was in 1948 he did his graduation. Though
as an undergraduate he was interested in medicine and law, he
finally decided to enter the ministry, as his father had urged
him to do.
King was a die-hard campaigner for humanity with great
concern for people. He seemed to naturally inspire people and
lead a mass following, a natural leaded. He selected the protest strike in a
careful way. He also used the media in a creative way that was hardly
observed before. And with all these he compelled his opponents to
make reforms in the interest of justice.
Some of his greatest achievements include the enactment of
Civil Rights Act('64), and the Voting Rights Act('65) for all
Americans. Non violent protests recorded its greatest triumphs
from '63 to '65. Thanks to the undaunted efforts of King and
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a protest
organization, which exposed the brutality of Southern
But it was not only the black civil rights movement to which
King kept himself confined. Starting from there, he broadened
his gamut to a range of human rights activities. These rights
include employment generation, quality education, housing and
health care for all. Within years of his appointment he
established a reputation as a well educated minister with
extraordinary oratorical skills.
The gory ghetto riots, the escalating Vietnam conflict - all
had created the greatest crisis since the Civil War. King saw
these developments as a moral sickness afflicting the nation.
And he was confident that the remedy lied only in radical
changes of political, social, and economic structure. On April
4,1968 this great leader was killed by an assassinator in
Memphis, Tennessee. During the final year, and for a half of
his life, King challenged the nation to undertake radical
reforms. He wanted to set up a social system that would
for the needs of all individuals, regardless of race.
Most Americans remember King as a dreamer. For, he has been
identified with the theme that pervades his most famous
speech:" I have a dream", which he delivered under the statue
of George Washington.
But King was not a mere dreamer, and/or setting ideals for
humanity. He led and inspired many to take practical steps
toward the attainment of their ideals. His so many achievements
in the short span of 12 years point to the fact that his dream
was deeply rooted in reality. He was indeed a doer. A
drum-major for freedom, justice and equality. In 1983, Congress
voted to establish the 3rd Monday in January as a National
holiday to commemorate King's day. Other than George Washington
no other American has been accorded such an honor.