Adhering to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is universally regarded as a fervent fighter for peace, equality and justice. Believing Americans of all backgrounds should be judged for the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin, the Atlanta-born leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sought to rid American, in particular southern states, of racial discrimination policies and practices.
Calling on the United States government to act, in 1963, 250,000 demonstrators marched to Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial where King famously delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Creating a freeze-frame moment in history – one of two etched in world history’s memory – King’s other monumental moment frozen in many people’s minds occurred five years later, when he was assassinated.
“His martyrdom has undermined his message,” said Tavis Smiley, host of “Tavis Smiley on PBS” and “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International.
“When King opposed the [President Lyndon B. Johnson] administration’s policy in Vietnam, he fell out of favor with a lot of folks,” said Smiley.
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