Martin Luther King Jr. was an avid activist, a civil rights leader, and a respected public figure. While considered a key figure in the civil rights movement and in civil rights education, Dr. King is renowned to have been dedicated to various human rights causes up until his assassination in 1968.
The 1960s were a time of political and social advancement for America’s un-privileged and persecuted. MLK himself was placed in jail for his advocacy up to 29 times. The following are only a few of the human rights causes Martin Luther King Jr. was dedicated to.
- The movement for school reform
All Americans are entitled to a valuable and equal education under their constitutional rights. Dr. King believed, according to “The Purpose of Education” (1947), that unsegregated education and curriculum reform were to keys to integrity and the evolution of the human character. When multiple lifestyles, religions, social classes, etc, were brought together into a classroom, the classroom then becomes less biased and more real.
- Equal pay and workers’ rights
Martin Luther King Jr. was an avid anti-capitalist when it came to the economic future of the United States. He argued for equal pay for Americans regardless of race and gender and for the equal rights of workers.
- Equal rights for sanitation workers
Dr. King actively spoke regarding equal rights for workers, but much of the time he spoke for the equal rights of sanitation workers. The year of his assassination, Dr. King was helping to mobilize workers for the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. He spoke to a crowd of workers the very night of his death urging them to fight for acceptable wages, adequate safety, and union recognition.
- Interfaith work
Dr. King, a firm friend of Malcolm X, believed in the recognition of religious differences and the unification of these differences to advocate for social change. Coretta Scott King has referenced that King and Malcolm X, who was Muslim, would have become a strong force of interfaith advocacy has Dr. King survived.
- Marriage equality
In 2012, CNN published an article discussing how Dr. King may have felt regarding marriage equality. The feelings, CNN concluded, most likely would have been positive. Coretta Scott King passionately advocated for marriage equality until her death in 2006. John Lewis, Dr. King’s colleague and close friend, had also explained in 2014 that civil rights and equal rights for marriage were the same fight.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a revered public figure in the civil rights movement and a key influence on civil rights education. It’s important to note that Dr. King fought and advocated for a number of human rights causes within the civil rights movement and to not let that information regarding civil rights education be lost to history.