Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) was an American Christian minister and civil rights activist who led one of the greatest nonviolent movements in world history to attain legal equality for African Americans in the United States. Drawing on both his Christian faith and the nonviolent philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King is widely regarded as a preeminent spokesperson for nonviolent activism. His “I Have a Dream” speech is among the most recognized and revered orations in the English language.
In this account of the struggle for civil rights in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, and assessment of the work ahead to bring about full equality for African Americans, Dr. King offers an analysis of the events that propelled the Civil Rights movement to the forefront of American consciousness.
"We've got some difficult days ahead," civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., told a crowd gathered at Memphis's Clayborn Temple on April 3, 1968. "But it really doesn't matter to me now because I've been to the mountaintop. . . . And I've seen the promised land.
To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil rights, the sword vs. the shield. The struggle for black freedom is wrought with the same contrasts.