Monday, January 19, 2009

"One man come in the name of love"

Just some things you may or may not know about the man whom we celebrate today.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for leading the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. He believed in nonviolent opposition to segregation and racial discrimination.
  • King also spoke out on the Vietnam War and poverty. He felt that money and resources used in the Vietname War would have been better spent on the War on Poverty he believed to be taking place in the U.S.
  • His non-violent approach came mainly from the teaching of Gandhi.
  • Became Time's Man of the Year in 1964.
  • Won the Nobel Peace prize.
  • The FBI put wiretaps on King's phones both at home and in hotels across the country to monitor phone calls with King and one of his trusted adviser's, New York lawyer Stanley Levinson, because of his ties to the Communist party.
  • After King's "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington in 1963 the FBI said King was "the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country".
  • The FBI threatened King to discontinue his civil rights efforts.
  • In January 31, 1977, United States district judge John Lewis Smith, Jr. ordered all known copies of the recorded audiotapes and written transcripts resulting from the FBI's electronic surveillance of King between 1963 and 1968 to be held in the National Archives and sealed from public access until 2027.
  • Conspiracy theorists believe that the FBI may have been involved in King's assassination.
  • Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday" was released in 1980 as he and Coretta Scott King rallied for a Federal Holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King.
  • President Reagan signed the bill in 1983 recognizing a federal holiday in celebration of MLK, Jr.
  • The first holiday was celebrated in January 1986.
  • Arizona Senator John McCain, voted against the bill in 1983. Arizona did not agree to recognize the holiday until 1992. The NFL even moved Super Bowl XXVII from Tempe to California in protest of the State's refusal to recognize the holiday.
  • In 2000, South Carolina became the last state to recognize the holiday.
  • Lee-Jackson-King day was celebrated in Virginia from 1984 until 2000, thus celebrating Confederate soldiers and a civil rights activist. In 2000, Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore proposed splitting them into two separate holidays. Only some counties recognize both. Campbell County, the county we reside in, recognizes both. DMV's across the commonwealth are also closed for Lee-Jackson day.
  • Martin Luther King was shot on April 4, 1968 on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel, he was pronounced dead later that evening.

1 comment:

Cheryle said...

This is a great post, June. One thing I'd like to add as someone who was privileged to hear Dr. King before he was assassinated (albeit on t.v., not live): He was incredibly inspirational and charismatic, especially at a time when African-American men were given little or no respect.