Martin Luther King Jr- What he stood for


Martin Luther King Jr- What he stood for



Martin Luther stood for peace-economic and social justice-equality and freedom

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American radical civil rights movement leader –great orator and a great fighter for economic and democratic rights. He was assassinated at the young age of 39 in April 1968. One of the loudest voices of Black Americans and civil rights in America was silenced by an extremist white racist.
 He is celebrated in US as civil saint for promoting peaceful non-violent struggle against segregation and discrimination against Black Americans. His birthday is celebrated as a national holiday. Tributes are paid to him on his death anniversary each April, and his legacy is honored in multiple ways.

Martin Luther King started his struggle as civil rights activists to win equal rights and opportunities for black people. He along with other leaders of movement mobilised millions of people across the country. He became more radical with passage of time. He correctly identified that racial equality couldn’t be achieved without economic equality and justice. He stood for the ideals of economic and social justice- equality- freedom and just society.
King was against all sorts of discrimination-injustice and exploitation. His dream was not about an unequal America- which it has become today. America is among the highly unequal countries of the world. The gap between rich and poor in US has increased in last 40 years. Kings dream was about an equal-fair and just America. This is not the America Luther King dreamed about.
At later years of his life- he became actively involved in working class movement. He was an economic reformer at the beginning of his active political life. But views became much more radical in the last years of his life.

 By 1967, King’s philosophy emphasized economic justice as essential to equality. And he made clear connections between American violence abroad in Vietnam and American social inequality at home. He had opposed the Vietnam War and campaigned for peace.  
Exactly one year before his assassination in Memphis, King stood at one of the best-known pulpits in the nation, at riverside church in New York. There, he explained how he had come to connect the struggle for civil rights with the fight for economic justice and the early protests against the Vietnam War.
King’s I have a dream speech at the March on Washington in August 1963 serves as the touchstone for the annual King Holiday. But King’s dream ultimately evolved into a call for a fundamental redistribution of economic power and resources. It’s why he was in Memphis, supporting the strike of sanitation workers when he was assassinated in April 1968.
This remembering matters more than ever today. Many states are either passing or considering measures that would make it harder for many people to exercise their fundamental right to vote. It would roll back the huge gains in rates of political participation by racial minorities made possible by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the same time- there is a persistent wealth gap between blacks and whites.


King’s philosophy stood not just for “opportunity,” but for positive measures toward economic equality and political power. Ignoring this understanding betrays the “dream” that is ritually invoked each year. Dr. King was a remarkable visionary, a true social and economic justice warrior. Martin Luther King was a man of exceptional ability-vision and courage.
King’s point was that the economic system America had grown into had left African Americans and poor people behind, entirely. Sadly, income inequality has only become worse in the U.S. and around the world in the past 60 years. Wealth is concentrated in a very hands. Many people in the world live on meager wages. For those fortunate enough to have stable jobs, wage growth has barely budged—relative to inflation—in 50 years. The path to a stable middle-class life has disappeared for millions of hard-working people who live paycheck to paycheck, and can’t save or invest for the future.
In his final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, King addresses the market operation of our economy that propagates unemployment and idleness. While King had no idea that technology, artificial intelligence, and smart robots might one day come for our jobs, he was referring to the profit-driven motivations behind our market system that compel executives to manage to maximize the bottom line and boost share prices.
"...We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty."
King in economic terms stood for a welfare state. He stood for the democratic socialism. "The problem indicates that our emphasis must be two-fold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available…"
While some may not agree with his ideas or the principles behind the Civil Rights movement, his impact is undeniable. Dr. King was able to connect the rights of all people in America to the economic system and the injustices it manifests through his essays, speeches, and teachings in ways that profoundly changed the moral consciousness of this country.

King sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is remembered each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.

"I Have a Dream" is a public speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States.
Here are some extract from that historic speech.  “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
                                                Khalid Bhatti 

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