Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr!
Yes, it’s his birthday today. And in 2020 he would have been 91 years old. Many people remember him, even though he was killed way back in 1968. What can we say about MLK, Jr? The deeds he did and the changes he brought about have influenced America and many other parts of the world.
Since my brain can hold on to 3 pieces of connected information, I have selected what I think are his top 3 achievements. My hope is that if you or your students remember nothing else, there’s a better chance that these 3 accomplishments will stick with you.
Episode 61 – Martin Luther King, Jr – 3 things you need to know!
Hey there. Do you know who Martin Luther King, Jr was? Well, you should. Today I’m going to tell you three things you need to know about this famous, this great American. So, sit back, relax, listen, and just try to understand as much as you can.
(Intro: English without Fear, where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)
Martin Luther King, Jr was an African-American pastor, husband, father, and leader. He did many great things in America and we celebrate his birthday in January.
What did he do? Why is he famous? Why do we celebrate his birthday as Americans? I have picked out three things, three significant, three important achievements, accomplishments that Martin Luther King, Jr did.
Number one, Martin Luther King, Jr influenced the Supreme Court in America, the highest legal court in America. He influenced that court to make the ruling that segregation on public buses in America is illegal.
What is segregation? Segregation is when the people who have the power say, “You don’t belong! You can’t do this because of your skin color or because of your religion or something else. That’s called segregation.”
And this incident, this action started in the city of Mobile, Alabama. Alabama, that’s where I live. I live in Huntsville, Huntsville and this was in Mobile, Mobile, Alabama.
There was a woman, an African-American woman named Rosa Parks. And she was a hard worker. And one day in December, in 1955 she got on the bus, on the city bus, the public bus to go home, after a long day of work. She was tired. She sat down.
But when a white man got on the bus and came up to her and demanded she get out of her seat, she said, “No!” And she stayed sitting down on the bus. This was a problem.
She was arrested by the police and put into jail. And when other people, and Martin Luther King, Jr heard about this, he, Martin Luther King, Jr organized, he planned, he started a bus boycott.
What is a boycott? A boycott is when a group of people refuse, they say “No, we will not use your product or your service because we don’t like what you’re doing!”
So, all the African-Americans in Mobile, Alabama and other white people as well refused to use the city buses in Mobile, Alabama.
How long did they refuse? This went on over a year and 385 days later, the highest court in America, the Supreme Court, ruled, made the decision that all segregation on public buses in America was wrong, illegal, unconstitutional. I think the bus company also lost a lot of money. ‘Money talks’, they say.
Well, what else did Martin Luther King, Jr accomplish? Well, now that he was famous, he also organized marches, demonstrations that were peaceful, not violent. He organized marches where people, mostly African-American but also some white people, where people would walk downtown in different cities holding signs that said, ‘GIVE US BASIC RIGHTS!’ Give us what other people in America have.
You see, according to the Constitution in America, all Americans have rights, like the right to get together, assemble and protest. The right to practice religion. The right to say what you think in public. The right to fairness in trials, fairness with police and fairness in the courts. And the right to vote.
Before this time in the 1960s now only white people could vote. That’s not fair. That’s not what the Constitution said or meant. So, Martin Luther King, Jr organized many marches for basic rights for all Americans.
Well, was Martin Luther King successful with these marches, these protests? Yes, he was very successful. In 1964 the government signed, carried into law, made the new law, um, called the Civil Rights Act. And this guaranteed, this protected all the rights that were in the Constitution. This meant that all Americans, all people living in America had the same rights.
That was in 1964 and then a year later in 1965, Congress and the government passed another big law, another big act called the Voting Rights Act. And according to this law, all Americans, all citizens, whether you were native-American, African-American, white, as long as you are a citizen, you have the right to vote. That’s a big accomplishment.
Well, was everybody happy with what Martin Luther King, Jr did? Most people were. But, there was a crazy man, a crazy white man who did not like what Martin Luther King, Jr had done or was doing.
And so, one day in April when Martin Luther King, Jr was just 38 years old, this man killed him with a gun. He assassinated him with a gun. And Martin Luther King, Jr died. He was standing on a balcony of a hotel with many people around, but he died. That is really sad.
But in his short life, we got many, many more rights for all Americans. And he started, he started forces rolling and things have continued today. African-Americans, white people, people all over the world have benefited. Their lives have improved because of Martin Luther King, Jr and his courage and his hard work.
So, that is why on the third Monday in January, people in America and all over the world, (but this is an American federal, national holiday) we celebrate his birthday. Martin Luther King, Jr was born on the 15th of January. So the third January, the third Monday in January is when we celebrate his birthday.
So, did you know something already about this great American? Tell me about it. Leave me a comment below this video. And if you would like the written words, the transcript for today’s episode, go to my website, www.Englishwithoutfear.com and a couple hours after this video posts I’ll have the written transcript there for your benefit. Well, that’s it for this episode. This is Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.
(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)