The most famous defender of the rights of dark-skinned US citizens, Martin Luther King, died in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Nonetheless, the mission of the legendary preacher did not end with his death. The civil rights movement was able to make significant progress in the fight against racial segregation. The name of King has become a symbol of equality not only in America but also throughout the world.
Racial Segregation in USA
The civil rights movement originated in the United States in the middle of the last century. Despite the fact that the Civil War (1861–1865) ended 90 years before it, racial equality in America was not established. Formally, equality was declared everywhere, but even people from the non-Anglo-Saxon environment were subject to certain restrictions for a long time in the United States. Thus, numerous immigrants from Italy and Ireland had no real opportunities to climb the career ladder. Nevertheless, the dark-skinned minority was in the most powerless situation.
King was born in 1929 in a family that achieved almost the greatest possible success for dark-skinned people in society in those times. His father served as pastor of a Baptist church. Martin Luther King received a good education after graduating from college in 1948. Even during his student days, he considered himself a religious skeptic. However, the church career was the most suitable variant for the son of a priest, so King continued his education in the seminary. In 1954, King moved to the city of Montgomery. The Civil Rights Movement originated there, and King became its ideological inspirer.
In Montgomery, Pastor King led a civilian “bus boycott,” which was the result of an incident with Rosa Parks. She refused to give up her seat to a white-skinned man. She was arrested and fined. As a result, dark-skinned residents of Montgomery began a large-scale boycott of urban public transport. The resistance campaign lasted more than a year and was crowned with sensational success. The federal authorities declared the segregation measures of the state of Alabama illegal.
From this point on, it became clear that the elimination of the system of separation of the white and black people of the South is a matter of the near future. Participation in the protest made King popular. He became a recognized informal leader of the Civil Rights Movement and engaged in politics. The preacher insisted that only non-violent methods of struggle would lead to equality. Despite the fact that King had many enemies, the most influential people in the United States wanted to establish friendly relations with him.
Murder of the National Leader
King was in Memphis on April 4, 1968, where he supported the strike of workers. He stayed at an inexpensive Lorraine motel, which belonged to his friend. King was killed with a single rifle shot on the balcony of his room.
Three months after the assassination attempt, the London police detained James Earl Ray with fake documents. After his arrest, he confessed to the crime and was exiled to the United States. Examination of fingerprints showed that Ray was the killer of King.
Despite the death of the spiritual leader, the Civil Rights Movement has not lost its position. The fight against racial segregation continued. Martin Luther King received state and international recognition. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated at the highest level in the United States since 1986. Many streets, squares, schools, libraries and hospitals throughout the country was named after the famous preacher and national leader. King's legendary speeches became the standard of American oratory.