MLK’s impactful legacy of peaceful protesting

SPEAKER FOR EQUALITY: King speaking to a crowd to inspire them. Fox 17 News

Kaitlyn Harsey | Editor

January 13, 2021

While for some MLK day is just another three-day weekend, many look past the great legacy he left behind in America for civil rights. However, this man was so influential that he had to be honored in this way to inspire future generations to come. 

KING IN JAIL: On April 12, 1963, King and 50 other protesters were arrested while leading a demonstration. History.com

Exactly what makes King so special? His passion for national change sparked many reforms, most importantly civil rights and means of peaceful protesting. Through peaceful protests, he fought for equal rights to ensure civil liberties to all Americans. This feat was not easy in the 1950s and 60s because as a middle aged black man, many white people saw him as a villain.

He gained momentum as his protests became larger and larger, but so did the hatred. His protesters were abused by the police with dogs, fire hoses, and beaten on the streets. Did they stop fighting? No. “Without MLK’s guidance many people may never have found the courage to stand up for their own beliefs,” San Clemente High School sophomore Hailey Hunt said. “Until his death he never stopped fighting for what he believed was right.”

King continued his fight when he was arrested in Birmingham by writing a paper named “A Letter from Birmingham Jail” that argued against a letter that degrading the civil rights movement. While King was only in jail for about a week, his message spread throughout the US, inspiring black people to stand up for their rights. With his long efforts he gained a Nobel Peace prize in 1964, and of course, love from his supporters. 

A TRUE LEADER: King leads marchers in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images.

In recent years we see his legacy has carried on through the Black Lives Matter protests. “We still strive to achieve his dream goal to obtain civil equality through the BLM movements,” senior Jasel Steinmetz said. “Through peaceful resistance in the face of injustices, King was a visionary.” While many of these protests were peaceful, there were those few that turned violent, just like King’s movement, but instead of fire hoses, BLM protesters were tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets. With King’s fighting spirit alive in these protesters’ hearts, they still continue to fight for injustices in America.

King’s legacy will live on not only through this holiday but through the spirits of those who also wish to create change in their society whether its social, environmental, or political injustices. “MLK’s beliefs and practice are proudly demonstrated in fights for equality today,” senior Lang Csira said. “He is an American hero.” 

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