We celebrate the birthday of his son, Martin Luther King, Jr.
|Public Domain: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.|
Both of my school age grandchildren have demonstrated that they did not know the difference between the two men. I explained the difference to the 5 year old as we completed a homework assignment that required she connect the dots which made Martin Luther King, Jr.'s face. We added the Jr. to his name, on her assignment, as I explained that Martin Luther King was his father and that the King we celebrate is the son. As I write this, I have before me that assignment and 2 other notices from the school district announcing programs celebrating King Jr.'s birthday. All are technically announcing the event in the wrong man's name.
Both men deserve the right to be considered separately. Many name Ghandi as the person who most influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. I would disagree. I believe that he was most influenced by the powerful man who gave him birth and nurtured him like few fathers do these days. It is ironic that teachers do not make the distinction between the two men, since King Sr. fought tirelessly for the rights of Teachers, making sure there was equity in the salaries of white and black educators. I would suggest that educators teach both men so that students will learn that African American men also raise their sons to do great things. We all know that in some districts King Jr. is honored simply because they get a day off. In others, he is honored because of his great works in the "Civil Rights Movement". Some districts ignore the day altogether and it is business as usual. Whatever the reason, students should be taught history as it was and the Jr. should always be added to the end of this great man's name in order to distinguish him from another great man.
|Wikipedia photo: Rev. Martin Luther King|
Martin Luther King, Sr., born Michael King (December 19, 1899 – November 11, 1984) was a Baptist missionary, an advocate for equal justice and an early civil rights leader. He was also the father of Martin Luther King, Jr.
King, Sr. led the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and became a leader of the civil rights movement, as the head of the NAACP chapter in Atlanta and of the Civic and Political League. He encouraged his son to become active in the movement.
King was a member of the Baptist Church and decided to become a preacher after being inspired by ministers who were prepared to stand up for racial equality. He left Stockbridge for Atlanta, where his sister Woodie was boarding with Reverend A.D. Williams, then pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He attended Dillard University for a two year degree. After King started courting Williams' daughter, Alberta, her family encouraged him to finish his education and to become a preacher. King completed his high school education at Bryant Preparatory School, and began to preach in several black churches in Atlanta.
In 1926, King started his ministerial degree at the Morehouse School of Religion. On Thanksgiving Day in 1926, after eight years of courtship, he married Alberta in the Ebenezer Church. The couple had three children in four years: a daughter, Willie Christine King (born 1927), Martin Luther, Jr. (1929–1968), and a second son, Alfred Daniel Williams King (1930–1969).
King Sr. became leader of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in March 1931 after the death of Williams. With the country in the midst of the Great Depression, church finances were struggling, but King organized membership and fundraising drives that restored these to health. By 1934, King had become a widely respected leader of the local church. That year, he also changed his name (and that of his young son) from Michael King to Martin Luther King after becoming inspired during a trip to Germany by the life of Martin Luther (1483–1546), the German theologian who initiated the Protestant Reformation.
King was the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church for four decades, wielding great influence in the black community and earning some degree of respect from the white community. He also broadcast on WAEC, a religious radio station in Atlanta.
In his 1950 essay An Autobiography of Religious Development, King Jr. wrote that his father was a major influence on his entering the ministry.' "I guess the influence of my father also had a great deal to do with my going in the ministry. This is not to say that he ever spoke to me in terms of being a minister, but that my admiration for him was the great moving factor; He set forth a noble example that I didn't mind following."
King Jr. often recounted that his father frequently sent him to work in the fields. He said that in this way he would gain a healthier respect for his forefathers. This was a driving factor in his civil rights movements across the United States.
In his autobiography, King Jr. remembered his father leaving a shoe shop because he and his son were asked to change seats. "This was the first time I had seen Dad so furious. That experience revealed to me at a very early age that my father had not adjusted to the system, and he played a great part in shaping my conscience. I still remember walking down the street beside him as he muttered, 'I don't care how long I have to live with this system, I will never accept it.'
Another story related by Martin Luther King, Jr. was that once the car his father was driving was stopped by a police officer, and the officer addressed the senior King as "boy". King pointed to his son, saying "This is a boy, I'm a man; until you call me one, I will not listen to you."
Martin Luther King Jr. became an associate pastor at Ebenezer in 1948, and his father wrote a letter of recommendation for him to Crozier College. Despite theological differences, father and son would later serve together as joint pastors at the church.
King Sr. was a major figure in the civil rights movement in Georgia, where he rose to become the head of the NAACP in Atlanta and the Civic and Political League. He led the fight for equal teachers' salaries in Atlanta. He also played an instrumental role in ending Jim Crow laws in the state. King Sr. had refused to ride on Atlanta's bus system since the 1920s after a vicious attack on black passengers with no action against those responsible. King Sr. stressed the need for an educated, politically active black ministry.
Copied from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Sr.