Dr. King is one of many prominent black leaders of the past century. He held a pivotal role in the fight against racial inequality and did so with such valor and grace that he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
In this blog post, we will highlight some of Dr. King’s most challenging and motivational moments in hopes to inspire us all during this time.
Early Life of MLK
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father was a pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and his mother was a school teacher. They lived on the famous Auburn Ave, a.k.a. “Sweet Auburn” and “Black Wall Street,” which was home to some of the richest black businesses and churches in the United States. His parents were college educated and so he took quickly to scholarly inquiry from a young age.
He encountered his first experience with racism at the age of 6 when his young white playmate told him he wasn’t allowed to play with him since they were going to start attending segregated schools. He had another impressionable encounter as a teenager working on a tobacco farm in Connecticut the summer before starting college. He was amazed with the racial integration in the North which deeply illustrated to him a more racially equal future.
At age 15, he attended college at Morehouse where he originally studied medicine and law. He later graduated with a degree in sociology from Morehouse. He then graduated as the valedictorian of a predominantly white student body with a bachelor of divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Crozer was the first place he learned of the nonviolent philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. He then became a Baptist minister and then a pastor at a church in Montgomery, Alabama. A year later he received his doctorate in Theology at Boston University.
After intensive studies and preparation, he was ready to be a strong force for change in the world. In 1955, he was chosen to head the Montgomery Improvement Association. This association directly led to the ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1955 that segregation on buses is unconstitutional. He later became President and a founder, along with and most notably Bayard Rustin, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
He travelled to India for a bit to delve even deeper into the teachings of Gandhi before moving back to his hometown in Atlanta where he became a co-pastor with his father at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He accomplished many peaceful Civil Rights demonstrations, the most revered being the March on Washington where he shared his “I have a dream” speech.
His efforts led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the achievement of the Nobel Peace Prize the same year, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He worked tirelessly for continual change until the day of his assassination in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
How do we honor Dr. King?
Let us continually consider the efforts of Dr. King, a true planner for peace, and act in accordance with his vision.
That being said, Black History month is upon us. We feel that as a prominent entity in the Tacoma community it is our duty to continually learn and share knowledge in areas of racial equity and justice. To that end, we will be highlighting prominent black leaders in our community and beyond for the month of February. We will also be gifting a portion of our Noble Farms sales to the Tacoma Urban League of Young Professionals to help continue building a stronger future for our local black and other underserved urban community members.