When I started to go to school and learn about Harriet Tubman, the North Star, why we have Martin Luther King Jr day, and other things like such it always intrigued me. As I got older I started to understand more and more about all the things that minorities went and go through to this day in order to make a living for themselves and their families as well. Learning about African American history and going more into depth about it in this class than I have in any other history class for that matter has really opened my eyes to what’s really out there. I see that things haven’t changed as much as we think that they might have. I mean sure there are definitely some improvements here and there but in the end there is always something that we lost after the whole civil-rights movement. There were so many efforts put into the Civil Rights era and many brave famous people who stood up and said something. Those people like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and of course Martin Luther King Jr have made such a huge impact on this country and to this day I think that all of their hard work and triumphs aren’t as valued by other people. Recent current events make me believe that, such as the mass incarceration rates for blacks, police brutality, and of course all the racial stereotypes that come about amongst ourselves. I came across a very interesting photograph of protestors holding up a sign that said “Martin’s Dream Is Forever” taken in 1990, many years after King gave his famed “I Have a Dream” Speech. (Ann Carnahan Espinola and Burt Hubbard, 2013) I think that this photograph has a very deep meaning to it because to this day there are so many things that King dreamed about that still can’t go through. Schools are just as segregated today as they were back in the day before the Brown vs. Board of Education act was set in stone. “Although the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution.” (Alex McBride, 2006) Banks still have different loans and mortgage options for different ethnicity groups and blacks are still treated differently than whites when it comes to crime and incarceration.
I think that this picture very well depicted what we see today in our society. King Jr wanted an equal opportunity for everyone in this nation. “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.” (Michael E. Eidenmuller, 2001) Martin Luther King Jr impacted a lot of people in his time and many people influenced him as well. I think that his work is something that everyone should really look into and really appreciate what he did. Even now when I hear any talk about the civil rights era the first thing that pops into my head is the name of Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr was born on January 15, 1929 in Georgia. He was both a Baptist minister and a civil-rights activist. He was the middle child of Michael King Sr and Alberta Williams King. King Jr’s father was also a successful minister who later adopted the name Martin Luther King Sr honoring the German protestant religious leader Martin Luther. The three King children including King Jr grew up in Atlanta, Georgia in a secure and loving environment. However, their parents couldn’t entirely keep them away from racial prejudice. King Jr went to Booker T. Washington high school and skipped both ninth and eleventh grade, then he went to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He doubted becoming a minister at first but after taking a bible class he renewed his faith. King Jr then enrolled in Boston University for his doctoral degree and went for his Ph.D. as well. King Jr became very well known for his non-violent protests and encouraged students to continue with the non-violent “sit-ins” where students would simply sit at racially segregated lunch counters in city’s stores and they would face verbal and sometimes physical abuse. In the spring of 1963 King Jr delivered one of the most famous speeches this country has ever heard where he addressed that he believed that someday all men could be brothers. In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr was murdered and it sparked many riots and demonstrations in more than 100 cities across the country.(Biography.com Editors)
This photograph that I came across was a picture of civil rights activist marching with political leaders such as Wellington Webb and Roy Romer marking Martin Luther King Jr day in the year 1990. The significance of this time period specifically to African Americans is that it was a time where we’re still seeing that education and income gaps have remained extremely high. “In 1970, for example, black families earned 73 percent of white family incomes and Hispanic families earned 72 percent. By 2010, those numbers had fallen to about 60 percent and 50 percent, respectively.” (Ann Carnahan Espinola and Burt Hubbard,2013) The thing is that we still see things like this today and it is so astounding to me. I don’t understand how we as humans could be so horrible to one another. I do not see how the color of one’s skin can make you determine what kind of loan one can get, or what school someone can send their children to. We have come a long way from slavery but in a way we have not come that far.
We had incredible people speak upon this, people like Martin Luther King Jr and yet we still haven’t been able to come to our senses. I think that the picture really meant that King Jr’s dream will be desired forever because we can’t seem to get past all the racial prejudice. I find it very disturbing that there were laws that kept blacks from living where they want to. “1917: Segregation Ordinances, city laws that were aimed at keeping black/POC people and families out of houses on blocks that were primarily white.” (Pittman, 2015) The huge gap in income among whites and blacks is another thing that really makes me see what goes on in real life. I think that before this class I didn’t really tie all the strings together to help me notice all that goes on in our society. Growing up in a Mexican household, I can relate to some of the things that blacks encounter today. Reading about racial segregation and how it is today makes me think that maybe it won’t ever end. There is always hope for a better tomorrow and I think that is what keeps us going. I think that Martin Luther King Jr and many other civil rights activists are incredible human beings and deserve all the appraisal they get and perhaps one day we will all become peaceful human beings.
- Carnahan Espinola, Ann, and Burt Hubbard. “Social Progress from Civil Rights Movement Lost.” Rocky Mountain PBS News. © Copyright 2015, Rocky Mountain PBS I-News, 20 Jan. 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. <http://inewsnetwork.org/2013/01/20/social-progress-from-civil-rights-movement-lost/>.
- McBride, Alex. “Brown v. Board of Education (1954).” PBS. PBS, Dec. 2006. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/landmark_brown.html>.
- Eidenmuller, Michael E. “Martin Luther King I Have a Dream.” American Rhetoric. Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Intellectual Properties Management, 2001. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. <http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm>.
- com Editors. “Martin Luther King Jr. Biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n/a. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. <http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086>.
- Pittman, LaShawnDa (2015) Lipsitz-Housing and Education [The Fight for Fair Housing]
By Debora Galeana