Lifestyle Editor | Kyrie Roxby
We all hear and know the name Martin Luther King. We all recognise it as the name of a man that lived in an incredibly discriminatory and racist time in America, and we all know he spent his life fighting against that institutionalized racism and hate. As someone who never gave up believing and fighting for a better world for all people of colour to live in, where they would not have to live segregated and oppressed. Martin Luther King Jr preached love and nonviolence in response to the endless hatred and violence against him.
King was an American Baptist minister and civil rights leader for nonviolence against racial inequality, poverty and the Vietnam war. He was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia and was assassinated by James Earl Ray at 39-years-old in 1968. In his lifetime, King helped fight against segregation and his work resulted in more breakthroughs in legislation for racial equality than had been seen in the previous 350 years as part of his work leading the American Civil Rights movement for thirteen years.
In 1955 he helped launch the 382-day long Montgomery bus boycott in response to Rosa Parks being arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person, leading to the U.S Supreme Court declaring bus segregation unconstitutional.
King also helped start the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was later elected its president. After being arrested in Birmingham for taking part and leading mass protests, King was arrested and wrote his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, where he called to light the racial brutality most common there. Later that year during the march in Washington for King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech outside the Lincoln Memorial. This ultimately led to the Civil Rights Act change in legislation, ending legalized racial segregation and making discrimination illegal. A year later, at 35, he received the Nobel peace prize for his civil rights work. In 1963 Time magazine named him as their Person of the Year.
Despite his short 39 years of life, King Jr left behind a legacy for equality that continues to today. Because of that, he is recognised every year with Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday on the 3rdMonday of January, the closest day to his birthday of January 15th. He is the only non-ex-president to have his own dedicated national holiday.
5 Martin Luther King quotes that are still incredibly relevant today
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love”.
With everything that people of colour went through in the 1930’s, the fact that Martin Luther King preaches against revenge, aggression and retaliation just goes to show how powerful his message of love was instead. He managed to make further progress through nonviolent means than could have been done otherwise. Any other approach only serves to damage yourself and put you down to the level of those serving out the hate to begin with.
As a father of four, King wanted his children to be raised in a world free to be equal to everyone around them and so taught love as the only fix for racism and oppression.
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars”
As someone that fought for so long against the injustice of the world around him, and won, Martin Luther King is probably the best person to talk about living in darkness. It also allows those surrounded by it to visualise more than just the light as an alternative, but what can be gained through knowing about the dark and being able to do something to change it.
Quotes like this are always good to remind people about everything there can be that’s good, no matter how dark it may seem at the time.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it”
This quote highlights the importance of using your voice to speak against things that aren’t right or making an effort to change them.
There’s a lot happening all over the world that plenty of people could do something about. You only have to turn on the news or open a news app on your phone to see murder, animal-tested products, trash in the oceans killing the marine life, and everything else under the sun. No matter how small your effort to help with something you recognise as wrong, it makes some difference in the long-run. We’re all living in this world we’ve helped perpetuate, if not create, and we all have to deal with everything that led to where we are now, whether we like it or not. Anything you can do to better what’s wrong should be done.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”
There are always some things that you would consider small that you can do for someone else, that are never small for them.
Volunteering or making small shifts in your life to be considerate to others will never be a burden more than it is a blessing to everyone in the long-run. Whether it’s putting your name on a protest list against legislation you’re against, buying animal-friendly makeup or volunteering at some charity shop or community clear up, any contribution to the world around you could make a bigger difference than you’d think.
“We cannot walk alone”
King’s success was due to the intense support and numbers that aided his protests and responded to his speeches.
This highlights the essential human need to have people, and not feel alone. Maintaining mental health at university is one of the most important parts of it, and this highlights how we can do that: understanding where to receive help and that you shouldn’t feel bad for needing it.