On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. became a martyr for the cause of justice after his tragic assassination. Known for leading the fight against segregation and for racial equality, he has left an impact on the world that we still see today.
Not only was MLK a warrior for equality, but a warrior for Jesus Christ. He worked alongside Christian leaders to bring together people of all backgrounds.
Only living to the young age of 39, MLK left behind him a legacy of love, hope, and peace. He lead a battle against evil with no weapons, but just his words and his steadfast faith in God. His courage to not only step up and fight back against what was wrong but to lead others to do the same started a movement in the United States.
The day before Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, he gave his last speech at the Church of God in Christ Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. The speech was titled, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” where King addresses the Memphis sanitation strike.
In his speech, King calls for unity amongst the protestors. He encourages them to boycott and to lead nonviolent protests while urging them to challenge the governments unjust working conditions. King stood with confidence, an example to those listening. He instructed others to be peaceful, and he lead by example each day as he walked different streets standing up for equality.
Nearing the end of his speech King begins to address the topic of death, specifically his own.
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead, but it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
You’ve likely heard that highlight many times, but to think the day before King was assassinated he stood up before an audience and told them he was not afraid to die because he had already been to the mountaintop is quite prophetic. He told them he was not worried about anything because he had seen “the coming of the Lord.”
The next day, on April 4th, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis Tennesee. Although he passed on, his legacy lived on. Like he said in his speech, “And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”
Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown, wrote in Time Magazine, “You cannot hear the name Martin Luther King Jr and not think of death. For as famous as he may have been in life, it is death that ultimately defined him.”
After his death, the march for equality did not stop, and in fact, is still going on today around the world. Martin Luther King did not just inspire with his words, but the way he lived his life as an example for all.