In dialogues about human rights Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is often quoted. His place in American history is written throughout cities across the United States with streets, libraries and statues which honor the memory of a man who had been jailed, assaulted, and ultimately murdered. His words against the injustices of segregation and advocacy of nonviolent resistance have echoed across the pages of American history.
My discovery of Dr. King was in parallel to Malcolm X, both were used as allegorical characters in my favorite comic series, Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men. Charles Xavier represented the nonviolent resistance Dr. King had preached and Magneto represented Malcolm X, another civil rights era activist and a Muslim minister. The comic, which was first printed in September of 1963, used the characters to illustrate issues of prejudice, segregation, war, and religious fanaticism with stories and plot lines that characterized “mutants” as the targets of those issues and more.
Dr. King was a man who had been yelled at during marches, attacked in Chicago, and jailed in Birmingham. It is the latter in which his message is seeping with deep sorrow. In The Letter From Birmingham Jail.(Alternative link 2, Click here) Dr. King was sitting in a jail cell in Birmingham Alabama, and was writing in response to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, an attack which resulted in the death of 4 little girls.
Over the years I’ve learned more about various people involved of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, some of which are still alive. People such as Delores Huerta who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez, and former FBI’s 10 Most Wanted person Angela Davis, now a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are people who have continued to address, discuss and question issues of social inequity. The same cannot be said of Dr. King, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, however, despite his untimely death, his message of nonviolent resistance lives on. In 2013 44th president of the United States Barack Obama stood along Bernice King (daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) to mark the 50th anniversary of the “I have a Dream Speech” in Washington.