Erin February 4, 2011 5- Burzinski Language Arts Century Project: Martin Luther King Jr. Sometimes people judge people for who they are not. You or someone you know could be judged by the way you look or your beliefs. Imagine how you would feel if you were classified by the way you looked on the outside, not by the way you were on the inside. In the 1900s, African Americans were judged by the color of their skin. One day, a regular man decided he wanted to change that. A great African American named Martin Luther King Jr. once quoted, “We must meet our white brothers with love. Meet hate with peace.” Martin was actually saying that he does not want to start war or a fight with anyone. White brothers does not mean they are all brothers and sisters, it means they are all God’s children and they should all get along as if they were brother and sister. King believed that the white men found them as their foes. The following essay will tell more about Martin Luther King Jr.’s extraordinary life. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia USA on January 15, 1929. He stayed in Atlanta and grew up. He went to grade school, high school, and went to Morehouse College when he was only fifteen! From there on, he attended Crozer Seminary and Boston University where he began his studies. While taking his courses, Martin fell in love with a woman named Coretta Scott. When they were married, the couple had four kids, Yolanda, Martin Luther, Dexter Scott, and Bernice Albertine King. Martin was assassinated on April 4th 1968. Sadly, he was only 39 years old, but he did great things in his shortened life span. Martin Luther King Jr. is a true representative of this era because he broke the color barrier for African Americans to live a normal life. He is the key person out of all the people who made great contributions in the 1960’s because he helped more than just himself. Martin wanted freedom for all African Americans, and he got it. Historically, this decade was the opening gate for African Americans in America. Day to day living was said that everyone was changing life styles. The entertainment included folk music, rock ‘n roll, and other new types of music. Elvis Presley and the Beatles were popular artists. Elvis’s rock n’ roll career started in the 1950s in Tennessee and blossomed out from there and became a big hit in the 1960s. This was the first decade in technology that the television was very popular. Back then in politics, John F. Kennedy was president. John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States of America. This is when Dictator Dr. Castro took over Cuba. In Dallas, Kennedy was assassinated. The Cold War began. The Cold War was not actually a war that soldiers had to physically fight with weapons. It was when the United States of America and the Soviet Union in Europe kept on getting more nuclear power against each other. The first human then defied gravity. Millions of people all over the world tuned in to watch the first man ever to walk on the moon! Finally, jobs included scientists, professional athletes, singers, and soldiers. Martin Luther King Jr. was not treated fairly. No African American person was at the time. Martin wanted to change that. When he was a child, he played with two little white kids. Then one day, the mother of the white kids came out and took her children inside. Martin never was allowed to play with them again. He was confused. He faced a lot of discrimination. His parents were very helpful and tried to explain everything to their son. They believed in him more than anything else. Martin knew from that day forward, he wanted to make a change. What made Martin Luther King great was that he followed his dream and made a change that has lasted this long and forever will. That day, when he and his friends were separated, is what led him to see all of the segregation that was going on. Martin Luther King Jr. faced many controversies. He was African American, so people did not like or treat him fairly in general. It was said that these people, back then, could only drink at assigned water fountains, sit in the back of the bus or stand, and only go to places and restaurants they were allowed to. Martin wanted to be treated equally. His house was bombed and he was arrested a couple of times, but he never gave up. I didn’t find any of his actions or decisions bad. He knew what was right and he set a goal. I always knew what Martin Luther King Jr. did, but I didn’t know his house was bombed just because of the bus boycott (started in 1955 and ended in 1957); I was surprised he told his other friends and participants to put their weapons aside. The African Americans were not allowed to sit in the front of the buses they took or when a white person wanted to sit down, a black had to get up. One day, an African American woman named Rosa Parks, had a long day at work and did not want to get up for a white man. Within minutes, she was arrested. This is what led King to start the city-wide bus boycott. After a few months went by without the blacks taking the buses, the company went out of business big time. He led more sit-ins and got arrested for that too. Every single time he did not lay a fist on anyone. Sit-ins led by Martin were similar to the city-wide bus-boycott, but African Americans sat in the seats marked ‘whites only’. Kids were hit with strong hoses during the marches. I’m sure Martin wanted to fight back, but he didn’t. Martin held back himself with all of his power. He faced many of these situations but never gave up. Martin Luther King accomplished many great things in life. He fought for the end of segregation and won. Blacks and whites were not allowed to do the same things. Sometimes things were as silly as not being able to drink at the same water fountain. He wanted freedom. He was the leader of a sit-in in 1960, where African Americans sat at seats for the white people only. Even though he was arrested, he was proud to go to jail in the name of freedom. One of Martin’s greatest accomplishments ever was his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. A year later, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. While still fighting for freedom, Martin wrote a lot of letters to different governments. All the marches he set up, firemen and policemen came, sometimes with big hoses, just to stop them. After Martin was assassinated in 1968 by a white man named James Earl Ray, African Americans got the freedom they were fighting for. Even though Martin was assassinated the white man was found immediately after and was taken to prison. Did you know that when Martin Luther King Jr. was five, he entered first grade? When his teacher found out his age, Martin was expelled. He was very educated for his age. In 1957, he was the cover of Time Magazine because of the city-wide bus boycott. He was arrested 30 times when he led sit-ins and protests. Finally, Martin’s father was a Baptist preacher and his mother was a school teacher. I chose Martin Luther King Jr. for my project because he is known for what he did with segregation throughout the world. Segregation was when black and white people were separated by the color of their skin. He inspires me in many ways. Martin, even though he was arrested, his house was bombed, and people were hurt in marches, he never gave up in what he believed in. This person represents my decade because his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was given at this time. Many more great deeds of his were done in the 1960’s as well. Try to imagine what it would be like to be in this era and you were an African American. It was hard to go to school where everyone hated you if you were black. That only happened to a few kids though, by taking an exam. Sometimes, all the white kids were taken out of the school by guardians or parents, just because a black child was there. It must have been hard for Martin and other little kids. They were excluded just because of the color of their skin. Martin Luther King Jr. was a truly great person.