It’s time to take notes folks. We all know that Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most important Civil Rights leaders in this country, but some of our memories may be a little hazy when it comes to his actual SPECIFIC accomplishments. That’s understandable, because when you think about Dr. King’s legacy, it’s hard not to think about the big picture. But there are plenty of individual things that never would have been accomplished if it weren’t for Dr. King.
1. The March on Washington
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. was the site of one of Dr. King’s most notable achievements. In 1963, MLK played a key part in leading more than 200,000 people into the nation’s capitol to send a message: African-Americans deserve civil and economic equality. It’s also where Dr. King gave one of the most memorable speeches in history, the “I Have a Dream” speech.
2. Led the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks is the name people most recognize in connection with the right to sit side by side with white people on the bus, but her actions may not have been successful if it weren’t for Dr. King. He led a boycott on the Montgomery bus system the very day that Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. He was arrested, abused and had his house bombed for doing so. In the end however, in part thanks to Dr. King’s leadership, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated buses are unconstitutional.
3. He was the president of one of the most powerful civil rights organizations
Dr. King was the founder and first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The group was all about King’s own goals and vision for the future—civil rights through nonviolent protests for equality. He led the SCLC in mass protests, voter registration and more.
4. Dr. King led the charge to end Birmingham’s Jim Crow laws
Boycotting Birmingham’s segregated businesses didn’t prove as easy as boycotting the buses in Montgomery. So Dr. King came up with another plan, this one involving peaceful sit-ins and marches. Police bore down on the protesters with fire hoses, dogs and billy clubs, but the protests carried on under Dr. King’s leadership. Eventually, what became known as the Birmingham Campaign ended the legal segregation of Birmingham’s Jim Crow Laws.
5. He was the face for the nation’s African-American Civil Rights movement
From 1955 until his assassination in 1968, Dr. King was the public face of Civil Rights. It wasn’t easy, and many times he didn’t receive the respect that he deserved, but the goals of abolishing racial discrimination in public transportation, employment, voting and education were eventually achieved. There is still much to be done until we see full equality, but it’s safe to say that without Dr. King, we wouldn’t have the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and Fair Housing Act that we have today.This post was originally published on Switch Media