Today we commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated outside the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, TN. 50 years later, his dream and visions breathes life into the lives we lead today.
As a civil rights leader, Dr. King broke barriers using non-violent tactics to bring equality and end segregation in the South. He was known as an powerful orator, leading marches, rallies, sit-ins and boycotts. He gave courage to a nation and generations to come as a result of his belief to continue fight for civil rights. In order to impact change, Dr. King understood the value of the media. If he was alive today, he would be one of the most followed figures on every platform. He forced northern journalists to cover the injustices Blacks encountered from the opposition while protesting.
One of the most prominent protest came in April of 1963 in Birmingham, AL. As president for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King and his companions organized a protest in one of the most racially segregation cities in the country. In this instance, King encouraged the youth to join the protest. The Birmingham campaign was the first time SCLC had encouraged children join the protest. These non-violent moments were often opposed with violence. The reaction to the non-violent action would continue in Birmingham.
The peaceful protestors were met by Birmingham Police Chief, Eugene “Bull” Conner, who ordered his army of officers to use high pressure water hoses and police dogs to diffuse the protestors. A number of northern journalists were in attendance for the protest, as it garnered national attention. Conner became one of leading symbols for institutionalized racism. Children were being attacked maliciously. Once the nation began to see these acts of dehumanization on national television and newspapers, it became impossible to ignore the blatant injustices projected onto African-Americans, due to the racially segregated and prejudice Southern United States.
In this day and age, social media controls how fast news surfaces. At one click of a button, a video can go from someone’s phone to viral, reaching millions of people in a matter of minutes. In 1963, radio airwaves, newspapers and black and white TVs, were the main platforms. With Dr. King’s sagacious media mind, he would dominate and manipulate social media for the better, if it was at his use during the Civil Right Movement. It has been 50 years since King’s death, but his dream continues to inspire an everlasting fight against racial justice and inequality for all people.
MLK lives forever.