Martin’s Ideas: A More In-Depth Look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King in Birmingham Jail

By Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

With the celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and work it is a good time to take a deeper look at his legacy. The celebrations of Martin Luther King usually consist of an emphasis on his most popular speeches, his marches and also his death. Although, popular tributes to King are of the utmost importance, they fail to take an in-depth analysis of his more complex and sophisticated ideas. When one delves deep into the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, one discovers that he talked a lot about many democratic principles such as justice, freedom, equality, fairness and creating what he called the “beloved community.” These principles can apply to societal challenges today. This article offers resources that can help students, the general public, teachers and scholars take a more in-depth look at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It provides some information and resources outside of mainstream portrayals of Dr. King that may be useful tools in addressing some of the social and political challenges in which we find ourselves today.

King Was Not Always Popular
Dr. King was vilified, harassed and eventually murdered because his ideas challenged the status quo and the established order. Ironically, many people that celebrate Dr. King in our time would not have supported him when he was living and would have considered him to be a radical. Martin was a man of great integrity, who was very kind and selfless as well. However, his unpopularity came because he courageously spoke out and pushed against the establishment. Stephen and Paul Kendrick in an April 3, 2018 Washington Post Op Ed article wrote “In our long effort to moderate King, to make him safe, we have forgotten how unpopular he had become by 1968. In his last years, King was harassed, dismissed and often saddened. These years after Selma are often dealt with in a narrative rush toward martyrdom, highlighting his weariness. But what is missed is his resilience under despair. It was when his plans faltered under duress that something essential emerged. The final period of King’s life may be exactly what we need to recall, bringing lessons from that time of turmoil to our time of disillusion.” Right up unto the day that he died, King had many critics, but after he was killed people celebrated and praised him. Perhaps this is because many people are not always willing to make sacrifices, but when the time comes for accolades there are no shortage of supporters.

Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” Addresses Some of His Critics
Dr. King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail is a good source too add to the discussion about the many critics he had. Martin chose to go into the ministry after first considering being a medical doctor or lawyer. In his writings, he states that the church and his role as a minister gave him the best resources and platform to answer “an inner urge to serve humanity.” Thus, the opinions of his fellow ministers (He directs the letter to his “fellow clergymen”) was very important to him. Apparently in King’s day many of the ministers were very critical of the work he had been doing. He starts off stating “while confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities unwise and untimely.” He goes on to say that “If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.” As evident in this quote, one can clearly note that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not always viewed as the kindly, soft, superhero in which society views him today. As the letter also indicates, some of the disapproval came from his colleagues in the ministry. To be fair, Martin enjoyed immense popularity among many people, but he had just as many enemies as he had admirers, if not more.
Letter from Birmingham Jail

King’s Non-Violence Stance Was Not Always so Certain
One of the principles King is most noted for is his practice of nonviolent resistance. However, it is not common knowledge that he did not start out this way early in his work. But, through much of the literature he read and those who mentored him he moved in that direction. His advisers showed him an alternative to violence and how nonviolent resistance can act as a powerful tool. The goal was not to humiliate one’s opponent but to win them over as a friend. He took to the idea also because of his religious beliefs as a Christian and a Baptist minister. Two of King’s primary advisers were Christian theologian Howard Thurman and white activists Harris Wofford, from the Christian pacifist tradition. Another one of King’s key mentors was veteran African-American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who helped coach and train him in strategies of non-violent resistance. Both Wofford and Rustin both studied Gandhi’s teachings and exposed King to his philosophies. In King’s early activism in the 1950’s he rarely used the term “nonviolence” and knew very little about Gandhi’s work. Surprisingly, King did not always subscribe to nonviolence and early on believed in self-defense. King had even purchased firearms to protect his family from attackers in his home. Later in his activism he strongly and publicly denounced the personal use of guns, however Dr. King always had  conflicted views of self-defense. Even though he spoke out against self-defense, many of his associates carried fire arms to protect him. So perhaps he was influenced by the realities of his day and black activist who unapologetically advocated for the use of violence if necessary.
Dr. King’s Nonviolence Stance

Deeper Concepts in King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” Often Missed
In the media and at MLK events when one hears excerpts from King’s most popular speech entitled “I have a Dream”, it is heard starting from the climax toward the end of the speech that repeats “I have a dream.” We hear King begin this segment with the lines “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” Even though these words are electrifying and speak of high moral ideals, people miss equally deep and powerful concepts discussed earlier in the speech. For example, in an earlier part of the speech Dr. King states: “Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” Even though these words were spoken in 1963 it applies to our time period as if it were written for today. There has long been the popular notion that America has moved well past the injustices and racial prejudices of the Civil Rights era, however with the rise of hate groups, white supremacy and racial rhetoric in our society, it seems that the nation has regressed and given way again to racial divisions on a wide scale. Indeed, the line “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood” can be applied to today as our country becomes more and more divided along racial lines, Martin’s “I Have a Dream Speech” speech reminds us that racial injustice can act as quicksand that can impede progress in our land; it can cause us to be stuck. But King’s legacy reminds us to lift up our nation  toward a more just society.
Original “I Have Dream Transcript” in the National Archives

Discussion Questions:
• What progress has been made in terms of racial reconciliation sense Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s time?
• How much progress have we really made in terms of race relations and equality since the Civil Rights era?
• Are there incidents, events or attitudes in today’s society that remind us of the times in which Dr. King lived? If so, what are they?
• Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked a good deal about race, but he also talked about economic injustice, do you think we have made much progress in terms of economic equality?
• If Martin were living today how would he feel about society? What kinds of things might he be saying?
Below are a number of lesson plans and resources for teachers and students that offer a more in-depth study of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lesson Plans
Classroom Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Grades K-5
Classroom Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Grades 6-8
Classroom Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Grades 9-12
Lesson Plans & Teacher Guides

Sermons and Speech Transcripts
The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life,” Sermon Delivered at Friendship Baptist Church
“Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
“But If Not” – A Sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Why Jesus Called A Man A Fool” (Sermon) Martin Luther King Jr.

Sermons/Speeches- Audiovisual Resources
Our God Is Marching On! (March 25, 1965)
MLK: Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence
Martin Luther King, Jr., American Dream
Martin Luther King – But if Not – Full Sermon
Martin Luther King’s Last Speech: “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop”
Conclusion of “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” Speech
Martin Luther King, Jr., “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?”
Martin Luther King “If I had Sneezed”

Other Audiovisual Resources
Mahalia Jackson singing & Martin Luther King Jr preaching at Church
Martin Luther King, Jr. – Minister & Civil Rights Activist 

The Greatest MLK Speeches You Never Heard
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed by a deranged woman. At 29, he almost died.
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Martin Luther King Is Slain in Memphis; A White Is Suspected; Johnson Urges Calm


  1. I think that if Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today, he would be very upset with this country. There was a time where segregation was decreasing and less people were becoming racists, however, that’s not the case anymore. Now it’s as if times are slowly going back to what they used to be. I think if Martin was alive he would be saying how he had traded his whole life to try to demolish racism and it is as if no one cares. I think he would be saying that for a country that is known for freedom, we sure don’t act like it or treat this country and it’s people like they deserve. I think overall Martin Luther King Jr. would be disappointed in the way this country is. 

  2. This article made me more aware of just how much Martin Luther King Jr. was a normal person. I think we often immortalize him and talk about all the change he encouraged. We forget he is human quality like how to handle violence, and that not every war was won with ease. I had no idea that King wasn’t a big fan of nonviolence protest at first. While reading this article about how we can still apply the “I have a dream” speech to our culture, was a complete shame to me. I would say the life that King wanted for his children is better than it was at the time, but its anything from perfect. I personally don’t understand the great divide, but why is it after 55 years we still do not respect one another, and racism seems to be raising. When will enough be enough?

  3. I think your point about how Dr. King was not always viewed as the saint he is today is very important. I think if Dr. King was alive and an activist today he would be deemed with a negative view. Fox News would probably call him a crybaby, and the president would probably have tweeted at him a few times. Slavery and segregation were not thousands of years ago. Many can still tell stories of their separate bathrooms. I believe Dr. King would try and call out institutionalized racism today.

  4. To be completely honest, I learned more about Martin Luther King Jr. from this article than I learned in my 12 year of elementary, middle, and high school. MLK, in my experience, is only discussed around Martin Luther King day. Typically, people are more excited about getting the day off than learning about the man who gave us this day. This year on MLK day, I went to the Freedom Center in Cincinnati to learn more about the past and about things I was unaware of. I learned a lot of things from this article that I was unaware of too. I could repeat the common “I have a dream…” passage to anyone who asked, but I had no idea how rich the rest of his speech was. I completely agree with Dr. Childs on the fact that his whole speech is relevant today as much as it was then. As a future teacher, I hope to incorporate more of Martin Luther King Jr and his teachings into my classroom, not just around his day, but throughout the school year.

  5. In our society we place a great emphasis and importance on Dr Martin Luther King Jr as we rightfully should do, however it is irresponsible of us to place him on such a high pestel that we cannot recognize who he really was, and what he truly believed. By sainting this man, we fail to recognize that he was hated and persecuted, yet he still persisted, we fail to recognize his imperfection and struggles. Ultimately we make him into such a perfect person, that we discourage new activist to pursue social change, because they feel they are not able to because they aren’t perfect like the men and women who came before them such as Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

  6. I think that shortly after his death things did begin to change and I believe that slowly things became more fair and equal for everyone. But like you said I think we are regressing. Instead of getting farther away than that we are just backsliding. The parts of Martin’s speech that were left out are just as important as the parts that are more notorious. If he were still alive I think he would not see that we have improved instead he would still be trying to help us all be equal and treated fairly.

  7. I think we often immortalize Martin Luther King Jr. and talk about all the change he encouraged and even made, but we often forget how much of a normal person he actually was. As Americans we often forget that is just like us and all he wanted to do is make the world a better place for future generations, just like most of us want to do today. While reading this article I kept thinking about how we can still apply the “I have a dream” speech to our culture and how it is important that we keep growing as a country. It is crazy to me that after 55 years we still have so much room to grow as a country even though we have come so far since Dr. King’s time. We are still a very divided country and have so much more growing to do and still can learn from Dr. King and his speech.

  8. I like how you mentioned at the end that the words that Dr. King spoke are still relevant for today. I believe a major factor in the regression of racial equality is social media. So many false or biased articles are written, along with their headlines blasted everywhere that have an agenda to make people of color look bad. I hope that in the future the many resources we have through social media can be used to give people facts and information, not lies.

  9. I believe that if Martin Luther King Jr were living today he would agree that we have taken steps backward when it comes to racial divide and discrimination. I imagine King would be giving encouraging words to motivate society just as he did during his time spent on earth. He would be reminding us of how far we had come to turn back around and repeat history the way it was before. However, I think he would be heart broken to see the brokenness that still remains and even is digressing now more than ever before within the world. If , I were him, I would be expectant of someone to stand up today just as his did and fight for what for those barriers to be broken. Lastly, I was surprised to be informed about Martin being a rather unpopular guy before his speech and the way he influenced society compared to how well known he is today for his speech and the movement that was made because of his impact on the world around him.I think it is awesome that even though there were people in his time that didn’t agree or support King, that he stood grounded in his beliefs and took action regardless of what lash back might be in response to him.

  10. I thought that this article was very insightful and really showed me more than what society today shows of his life. Like a few people have said before me and like you said unfortunately our society is going backwards people have so much hate towards one another and I am very saddened by this. Also,when reading this I thought to myself how important it is to teach my students the reality of what life was like for MLK Jr. and once they reach a certain age to listen to the whole speech. I think this because it could be a great lesson to teach students to stand up for themselves and what they think is right even when others are against them. Up until last week I had never heard or read his full I have a dream speech and the whole thing is so powerful that I wish I had heard/read it sooner.

  11. This article was very informative and showed the growth that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made throughout history. I have absolutely no doubts that if Martin Luther King was alive today he would be hated. Though society has grown and we live in a society where equality is more accepted. Because of the loss of innocent lives of African Americans with law enforcement, it makes it seem like we’re going back in time.

  12. To comment on why Dr. King was not always popular, I think it is because he spoke bravely and confidently in what he believed in and that made a lot of people uncomfortable. I feel like things are the same way today but with slightly different topics. King knew he could not please everyone, but that was not what he was trying to do, he was trying to raise awareness bodly which made people dislike him.

  13. I have always had a high respect for Dr. King. My parents would read me books on civil rights when I was younger and taught me about how Dr.King who fought for what was right. We would watch Dr. King’s “I had a dream speech” on Martin Luther King Jr.’s day. The biggest lesson my parents wanted me to learn from Dr. King, and all those who fought for civil rights, was God created us all equal. Reading over Dr. King’s nonviolence in the article I understand why he was conflicted. As a parent and husband he wants to protect his family. I hope to fight for what is right and just just like Dr. King.

  14. Dr. King has always been one of my favorite people in history. I am firm believer in equality and everything he believed in. Until reading this article I never really thought about King as just a “normal” person. When I think of the history of King I only remember learning his famous moments. I believe I have learned more about Dr. King after reading this article and the links provided than I have through my entire education.

    Although society has changed since Dr. King’s time, I think there are still instances that are similar to how things were back then. For example the election of president Obama caused an uproar for some because of his race even though he was qualified and willing to fight for our country. I believe the rights of equality have improved but society views still want to hold those racial boundaries.

    If Martin Luther King were alive today I think he would be content with the way things are because of law changes but I feel that he would continue to push to persuade society to become open to equality for all races.

  15. My favorite thing that I have read written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the article he wrote in Jail in Alabama. He stood up for himself and the people being discriminated against even locked up. It is a fun article to read about how he calls out everyone who did not think he could do anything about it because he was in jail and boy did he prove them wrong.

  16. When thinking back on Martin Luther King and his legacy, I often forge that he too was mortal and dealt with his own conflicts outside of societal issues. I never knew he had conflicting ideas on gun use and that early on in his activism he was not all about his “nonviolent” ways. I love that it is mentioned that he had mentored that helped him realize his activism could be done peacefully and humanly because often times in today’s society, many people turn to him as a figure to follow.

  17. The article that I chose for this assignment was about Martin Luther King’s ideas, and how they were more complex and sophisticated. In one of Martin’s letter when he was locked up in Birmingham jail; it said that ‘his role as being a minister gave him the best resources and platform to answer an inner urge to serve humanity.”
    Martin was not always a firm believer in his nonviolent tactics. Martin used to own a gun for protection, but later on would be influenced by his advisors; Howard Thurman and Harris Wofford, about taking an alternate root than violence. That would be by winning over your enemies with kindness and “trying to be their friend.”
    Racial injustice was a big deal back during the Civil Rights Movement; and somewhat is making its way back to our society today. In Martin’s I Have A Dream Speech; one line is brought up and really spoke to me. “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” What this means is that “racial injustice can act as quicksand that can impede progress in our land.”

  18. It is my opinion that it is safe to say that as a nation we are more divided now than we have been in some time. I think it is an accurate observation and I agree with the article comment that we as a society could use the perspective of Dr. King since we are now dealing with hate groups, racial divide and socioeconomic tensions. What we have now does not feel like the democracy that Dr. King wished for and we are no closer to having a “beloved community” than we were back then. Deep rooted values for justice, freedom, equality and fairness are often overshadowed by other issues.

  19. In my personal opinion, I feel that we haven’t made much progress of racial reconciliation since the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are still many issues with racial slurs, stereotyping and equality. I find it ironic that during the life of Martin Luther King, he wasn’t very well liked and his views were not agreed with UNTIL he had passed. Now Dr. King is honored and his views are well understood and are trying to be made a part of today’s society. While I do agree with these behaviors, I still feel that there are many people that are unwilling to change their mindset. Slavery and segregation are still a part of today’s society in different parts of the United States.

  20. I think considerable leaps and bounds have been made since MLK’S time. As a society people are diversifying and welcoming each other and ideologies that would have been considered nonsense only 60 to 70 years ago. I think often times we view the world as being in turmoil in situations in regard to the way races are perceived due to what we see in the media. The media likes to focus on things they know is going to get attention. The next time you watch pay attention to the ratio of bad to good. I think economic equality in current time is ultimately the factor of an individuals choices not their race. There for I do not think that race has ever been a dominant factor in deciding rather economic status is constructed. Often times people get to where they are by their actions and decisions and not learning from them. I think if Martin Luther King where alive today he would take note of the progress that has accumulated over the time.

  21. As early as February 20, 2019, Senator and Presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren “blamed generations of discrimination for black families earning far less than white households” (NY Times). This article goes on to talk about Democratic policy makers who are openly talking about reparations and policy changes that brings true equality through opportunities. It is clear that the country is yet, still, grappling with the same issues that Dr. King addressed decades ago. On reflection, it seems Dr. King began the work and through time has gotten us moving forward on racial equality, and there is more work to be done. Hopefully, soon, another leader and champion will become apparent. Sooner rather than later, especially with the current U.S. administration trying to turn equality inside out.
    Dr. Childs’ article helps us to reflect on the real challenges Dr. King faced, perhaps bringing down the idealized persona we celebrate today. Surely Dr. King grappled with his own day to day emotions, and remaining clear on his convictions and beliefs in terms of commitment and sacrifice.

  22. This article is good. I have heard and talked about King but never looked deeply into his life. I have seen and read a lot of really good articles about him. On the other hand I have heard that he was not an all around great man. I’ve heard he was adulterous and was not always the “I have a dream” man. What are your thoughts on the other side of things that King was part of that a lot of people look past because of his greatness?

  23. very well written article. This man’s life was incredible but different, he was mostly a good man and did a lot of great things dispite the few negative things he has participated in.

  24. If Dr. Martin Luther King lived in our society today I think he was be very disappointed. Dr. King put in so much effort and even his life into fixing the society there once was and ending segregation. He did the work of getting everyone to love each other no matter what color you are. I feel like in a way, we are slowly starting to go back to that. No, there’s not segregation laws saying blacks cannot go into schools, stores, churches, etc., but there are many people in this world today that show racism and we can’t all be kind to one another. If Dr. King was here today I think he would give another speech saying everyone needs to get their act together. Sure, we might all have different color skin, but that does’t change us from being human, from having a heart, or not being able to be kind to one another. We are all capable of being kind, so lets do it and lets all get along.

  25. I think that it is so important for people to know that Dr. King wasn’t always viewed as a heroic person like he is today. But in reality there are people that still despise Dr. King and unfortunately they are part of the caucasian race. I feel that if Dr. King was still alive today that people would still view him negatively. Although he tried to incorporate a good thing for the African race, as well as, create equality, people viewed him as powerful and demanding which is why I feel that people viewed him so negatively. I think as a teacher it is very important for me to incorporate and view Dr. King as a heroic man who pushed equality among black and whites, and teach children the importance of equality and Dr. King’s efforts.

  26. I think its really interesting how you touched in how Dr King wasn’t always thought of like he is today. Also I really liked how you went so in depth, a lot more than my past teachers have, It seems like always focused just on the one day a year. I feel like Dr. King would still be upset with how we are today, maybe not for the exact reasons, while some still apply but just how we have grown as a society.

  27. I thought this article was extremely interesting. This article made me reflect on all the years I was in school and how many times I was “taught” about the work of Martin Luther King Jr and how it barely scratched the surface. There was so much in this article that I never knew about Dr. King. The only think I distinctly remember learning was the last minute of his “I have a Dream” speech. While it is very important, there is so much more that could have been taught that would have given me a better insight on the legacy of Dr. King. One quote that really stuck out to me from Dr. King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail was, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I think that this is still relevant in todays world and hope that there is a shift toward teaching more than just the surface level work of Dr. King because there is so much that we as a society can learn from him.

  28. This article was very thought provoking because it covered information that is not always discussed when you learn about Martin Luther King Jr., and it often overlooked. Looking back in school, I remember learning about how impactful MLK Jr. was and how his “I Have A Dream” speech was revolutionary, but nothing close to this. As I grow older, I continue to find myself finding out new information about his legacy and life, and I want to instill these concepts into my own classroom.

    Also, I appreciate the amount of resources you gave us at the end of the article, including various lesson plans that are divided by grade level and discussion questions to instill higher order questions that can start a great discussion within a middle school classroom. It will be an extremely helpful when it comes time to teaching my students about the life and impact of MLK Jr. It gives me confidence I am able to give my students an opportunity to dig deeper into who he is and what his life entailed beyond the common concepts that are spoken about that I was not afforded during my own middle school classroom.

    The most impactful part of this article would have the be the section on “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” because up until recently, I never knew this occurred, nor that he had a mugshot that told a major part of his civil rights journey. I really enjoy that, and although back then he was often criticized for what he was doing, it only made what he did more powerful and awe provoking.

  29. wow, this was a good article. There was so much to learn about MLK in this article. admittedly I have very little knowledge of MLK. I only knew what they taught us in school. This was not much though. this is just like what your article talks about. I until today had no idea that MLK was not always a non-violence believer. I also did not know that his speech has never really been fully grasped by readers. and that is not a just society for blacks but a just society for all mankind. This struck me because it is true we all need to stick together and help our brothers and sisters undergod to create a better future. If we all worked together and ended the hate we could accomplish so much more as a human race. I hope we all can learn this message one day.

  30. The story of Marten Luther King Jr. is such an important topic in school. Yet this is also the topic that is just skimmed over for his accolades and his accomplishments. There is little taught about the struggle that MLK felt in his day. This is a man that was a minister, and all he wanted to do was help all people. His pursuit to create a just society was not an easy road but he persevered, and progress has been made. Schools today could benefit from this lesson for two reasons. The first is the most obvious, and most taught today the social injustice and that it is not okay. The second lesson that is missed when you don’t take a deeper look at MLK’s life is his struggle and his perseverance over these struggles to promote change. This is a powerful lesson for students to learn so they see that struggles are needed in life to make room for the change in our lives. I am grateful that this article gave me a deeper understanding of MLK’s life and lessons we can learn from. I will be using his struggle as an example to my students not to back down from change, but to overcome it.

  31. It was shocking to me to read about how Dr. King didn’t always use nonviolence. The way we see him today and the pedestal we have him on makes him seem perfect. It’s interesting to learn about the “not-so-perfect” parts of him as well. As I read this article, I thought of March Book One. Although the book was not mostly about MLK, it did tie into his teachings and thinkings. I enjoyed learning more about a figure in history that is so widely known, but I do not know much about other than the “I Have a Dream” speech.

  32. I learned a lot about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from this article. In school, we only focused on his I have a dream speech and his marches. I think it is very important for teachers to discuss Dr. King in more detail than just his one speech. It is important for students to know that he was a real person and understand that his ideas were radical at the time and many people disagreed with him. It is also important for students to understand that there are many themes within his famous I have a dream speech and it is much more than just the famous couple of lines that are always discussed. I believe that it would also be very beneficial to students to read his letter from Birmingham jail because there are many ideas from this letter that are still relevant today.

  33. I picked this article because MLKJ and I share a birthday and I love learning about him. This article made me realize how much Martin Luther King Jr. was a normal person. I think when we discuss MLKJ we treat him as if he wasn’t human. He did a lot for the black community when he was a live. MLKJ was a man of words not weapons. I love how this article implemented “I have a Dream” speech in everyday life. I try to treat everyone equal with no harsh judgement. It’s hard to do when you are human but I make the best of it. I give everyone at least one chance. MLKJ gave his kids everything he didn’t have and made it better. I know because of ignorance we still have a divide. It’s getting better, but not nearly as undivided as it should be. The only way to change that is if we all walk a mile in the other shoes.

  34. Currently, I’m enrolled in a History course where I am meant to study US history through 1877. The reason I’m bringing this up is that I’m slowly starting to realize in order to change things, you’ll have to make some enemies. This statement seems relatively logical. However, up until this point, I had assumed the opposite.
    Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality. In my head, this is the right thing to do. Segregation is wrong. This should have been obvious for the majority of people. So, I had assumed when MLK took a stand for what was right (obviously he’d have those that disagreed), most people would stand behind him.
    I’m seeing this theme start back when the thirteen colonies were being established. In 1636, a man named Roger Williams fled to Rhode Island because he disagreed with the way things were being ran. He offered freedom to everyone despite their religious beliefs. Because of this, Rhode Island was considered a “sewer” filled with all of God’s trash.
    The similarities between the men don’t stop there. Despite King being arrested, and Williams being exiled, both kept fighting. King wrote his letter to those that criticized him from a jail cell, while Williams continued to fight for a charter for his people. Both men fought for equality- Williams for religious and King for racial- and refused to back down.
    I think both men would be happy with what they saw today. I’m sure there are still many aspects of the world they would demand we do better in, but we’ve come a long way since they fought for what they believed in.

  35. Hey Madison. Great response. Often when we stand up for what is right we have to go through struggle and persecution. Everyone does not always agree with the truth. I really like your comparison and analysis of the two men. Although, we have made some great strides in our society we still have a long way to go in terms of racial equality.

  36. MLK not always having a non-violence stance came as a bit of a shock to me since that is what he is known for, and in many ways, maybe why his Civil Rights movement was so successful. Sometimes what you don’t do speaks louder than what you do do. Him and all his supporters did demonstrations for civil rights using non-violence which is why I think he was so successful. To hear that he did not always have non violent ideas is understandable, but I think the most important thing to come away with this is that he realized that non-violence would be more effective in having his mission be supported. Also I don’t blame him for having his body guards armed because, obviously because he was assassinated, he was right to be concerned for his safety.

  37. 6. Martin’s Ideas: A More In-Depth Look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Author: David Childs
    Response: When reading the other responses of my peers on this blog, I saw a comment that really stood out to me saying that if Dr. King was still alive today, that he would be very upset with this country. I would have to agree to and also disagree. In the matter of racism, I do believe that our country has not made the steps that it has should’ve been brought up a long time ago. I believe racism is still very present in this country and it should have been abolished many years ago. But also, I think if he was still alive he would be amazed in how far this country has come, in the eyes of technology and government.

  38. I wanted to touch on two interesting topics in this post. The first is the idea that Dr. King was not highly praised until after he was murdered. I find that this happens often, both with celebrities and less influential people. Recently Nipsey Hussle was murdered. Before his untimely death, though he was an activist for his community, there was little support for his art or his actions in his community. After he was murdered, celebrities came out publicly to declare their support for Hussle and his actions in his community. Here I am not trying to create a comparison between the acts of Dr. King and Nipsey Hussle, but rather note how common it is for people to be unsupportive of activists until something unfortunate happens.
    Another thing I wanted to discuss here was your question of whether the civil rights movement has progressed since Dr. King was murdered. Though it felt, for a while, that our society was moving in a progressive manner, with the election of our current president that progression seems to have become blurred. Those with hateful ideologies and hateful intentions have become more prominent in today’s culture, and it leads one to wonder if their current prevalence will result in a regressive civil rights movement.

  39. In the world we live in today not everyone agrees on the same things. With that being said, in order to make a change and do things to make a difference, it comes with making enemies along the way. I believe that’s what MLK had to go through because he fought for what is right and to make a difference and there were many people who didn’t agree or like what he was doing. I also think that many people didn’t give him the credit he deserves until he was dead which happens a lot nowadays with artists or people that make a contribution to our society. They end up passing away and then everyone comes out saying they miss them and how much they did for us but didn’t have the same energy when they were alive.

  40. My American History Professor once told the class, while talking about Dr. Martin Luther King, that in his later days after Selma, Dr. King had transitioned from being a civil rights activist to being a human rights activist. Now, at that time I couldn’t understand the difference but reading this article it dawned on me that it meant that he was standing up and fighting for justice and democracy not just for black people but all people. And I am sure that made him unpopular in those days. Had he been an activist right now in 2019, he would have been dragged by the media and had his name tarnished by the President himself.
    Although America has come a long way from the days of racial segregation in the 1960s, we are facing another form of segregation- one that appears to be invisible to those who don’t seek it out. And it has caused division amongst the people and is unknowingly excluding people of color from various opportunities. I think we are in dire need of Dr. King’s ideologies now more than ever.

  41. While there has been much progress with blatant racial injustice and segregation in the United States since the 1960’s, the current overall level of hatred and division towards one another is still alarming. It used to be, if you had a different skin color, there was division and inequality. Now there is judgement and hatred if someone is different in any way at all, like skin color, political party, sexual preference, or religion. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family would have more rights and opportunities today but he would still be trying to start a revolution of love in our country. As future educators, it is our job to try and end the stigmas starting in our own classrooms.

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