By Titilayo Bediako
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a man that the United States celebrates with a holiday the third Monday of every January. Although we recognize his work for humanity, our society teaches its citizen little more than the fact that he gave an “I Have a Dream” speech and that he died in Memphis, Tennessee. We are not taught that he kept working for the civil and human rights of all citizens at great risk to his life.
He was not only threatened by such terrorist organizations as the Ku Klux Klan and the Citizens League, but also he was being threatened by members of the United States government. J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, hated Dr. King and did vicious acts to destroy this great leader. He sent terroristic letters, including one giving King 45 days to kill himself.
Hoover worked hard to create a rift between King and the famous Malcolm X, and he said that life would be better if King and Malcolm X killed each other. Hoover’s efforts to make it happen failed.
Few people know that Dr. King took a strong position against the war in Vietnam. He believed that nonviolence was not limited to the United States — it should be global. He said, “Justice is indivisible; injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He couldn’t understand how America could spend millions of dollars on what he considered an unjust war when millions of people were starving on its own shores. His Poor Peoples’ March, which he was working on before he died, was to put the spotlight on poverty and to show the importance of ending the Vietnam War.
The young women in WE WIN Institute’s “Women of Distinction” program at Cooper High School studied the accomplishments of the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They researched him, discussed the issues and wrote essays and poetry that highlighted his achievements. Here is an example of these young women’s work.
Titilayo Bediako, a licensed teacher, is founder and executive director of WE WIN Institute, an organization dedicated to the academic and social success of all children. She welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.