The Dream Lives On: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
April 4, 1968 Revered Dr. King Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the balcony at Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee for a bit of fresh air before attending dinner with the rest of his cohorts, moment’s later assassin James Earl Ray shot him in the face. Dr. King was pronounced dead shortly after. The country and world alike was shocked, hurt and dismayed after finding out that the leader of the non-violent movement endured a violent death. Many people thought and still continue to think that Dr. King’s non-violent strategy for equality was nothing short of a waste of time However, Dr. King’s strategies and ideals have been adopted by a new generation of activist in various communities.
The first action of civil disobedience that Dr. King organized was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in December of 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Mrs. Parks a well-respected citizen in the black community was arrested and the black community was stunned and outraged, as a result Dr. King organized a bus boycott where he encouraged all members of the black community not to ride the buses until they became integrated. After more than a year later and a Supreme Court ruling a local ordinance was issued prohibiting segregation and allowing Black passengers to sit wherever they would like on the bus. This was indeed a victory and gave the young Dr. King national notoriety.
Today, Millennial activist has used the same strategy of boycotting to make their voices heard against various issues that plague them. In 2017 Pepsi released a commercial starring popular reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner. The commercial depicted Jenner participating in what looked like a march against police brutality, Jenner faced a barricade of police officers handing one of the scowling police officers a Pepsi while the crowd roared in a victorious triumph. To Millennial activist not only was the commercial was offensive but it gave a false depiction of the dangers that these activist face by protesting in the street. Once Pepsi refused to pull the commercial various activist around the world used the influence of social media to promote a boycott of all Pepsi products. When Pepsi realized that the boycott was serious they pulled the ad and apologized to the activist stating that they “ missed their mark” proving that Dr. King’s strategy of boycotting is affective even with an international conglomerate like Pepsi.
Another strategy that is being used is marching one of the most popular and notable strategies that were used by Dr. King and other organizations during the Civil Rights Movement. The March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom in August 1963 is the most memorable march during The Civil Rights Era due to Dr. King’s famous “ I Have a Dream” speech. Today there have been two marches that has followed suit with the impact of the March on Washington. The Women’s March which took place in January 2017 as a direct response to the current Presidential Administration which also took place in Washington D.C. and the March For Our Lives March that took place this past month to combat Gun violence in schools and around the world. Dr. King inadvertently groomed and trained various young activist including his nine- year-old
granddaughter Yolanda Renee King who spoke at The March For Our Lives March and has become an outspoken activist in the anti-gun movement.
Dr. King’s legacy has proven again and again that non-violent strategies can affect and change the world for the better, Today various young activist and groups from The Women’s March to Black Lives Matter are continuing the legacy of Dr. King and non-violent practices whether they are willing to acknowledge it or not.