As we approach the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, we recognize the significance of reflecting on his life and commemorating his legacy. His work allows us to experience freedoms that did not previously exist for minorities. Because of Dr. King, we have a platform to motivate and activate change. It’s our turn.
Be part of the social conversation using the hashtag #MLK50. Our commemoration of Dr. King motivates others to push for equality in the way he and other civil rights activists did years ago.
Your thoughts, ideas and stories matter. Join the conversation, and submit your story - we'll be featuring stories throughout the commeroration here and on our social networks using #MLK50.
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The issue of decent housing is more than the quality of the physical dwelling people live in, but also the surrounding community. In modern America, we are impacted by a legacy of housing policies that affect government funding for schools, community development, quality of life, economic access or wealth, and more.
The United States has roughly 70 million Americans who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. Of course with each conviction, all crimes are different, however regardless of how non-threatening the crime is, these Americans are significantly disadvantaged.
Over 150 cities and 29 states have adopted "Ban the Box," which makes up over two thirds of the U.S. population. To support the continuation of this policy being adopted across the U.S, support your state and local efforts to enact fair-chance policy. Here are a few steps that you can take take to help.
In 1968, Dr. King came to Memphis, to help with the Sanitation Workers Strike. The Memphis garbage collectors were underpaid, overworked, and didn't have proper uniforms or working equipment. Their wages were so low that even though they worked full time, they still qualified for welfare.
The 1968 Sanitation Workers and
Their Fight for Fair Wages
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal." King's philosophy reveals that we achieve the goal of peace through nonviolence.
The first three actions are part of The King Philosophy.
The Same but Different
At some point in their lives, most people will be in the position of seeking employment. Whether a high school or college graduate looking for part-time employment or internship, or an experienced worker embarking on a new career, candidates will likely have resume questions including: What should I have in my resume? How should I format it? What skills should I list? Does the objective really matter? Should I include a cover letter? What length should my resume be?
Getting College and Career Ready: Understanding Resumes and Interviews
Mass incarceration is a major civil rights issue. A primary reason for the surge in the American prison population is the federal law mandating minimum sentencing. Individuals who meet certain stipulations of the law are required to serve a minimum sentence.
How Incarceration Affects Families
According to the Urban Institute, "Many households struggle to afford a decent, safe place to live. Since 2000, rent has risen as the number of renters needing affordable housing has increased.
Think about it. There has been at least one teacher who greatly impacted your life, right? Most of us can recall our favorite teachers because of the way they positively motivated, encouraged and pushed us to reach our potential.
Teachers Make a Difference
Recent census data states there has been a decline in poverty in the U.S. over the last two years.
Go to your library and check out, Almost Home by Kevin Ryan and Tina Kelley. This book tells the stories of six remarkable young people from across the US and Canada, as they cope with life on the streets. Each teen eventually finds his or her way to Covenant House, one of the largest charities serving homeless and runaway youth in North America.
Research shelters in your area that serve teens who are living on the streets. If your parents approve, inquire what you can do to help. This could be a perfect place to deliver care packages.
DoSomething.org for facts and ideas on how YOU can take action to create positive change! Share and discuss this with your peers.
In the fight for economic equity, the gender pay gap - the difference between how much men and women are paid - is a key issue.
No, this commemoration must be a movement that takes us forward. Not just a commemoration, but a commencement, a convocation that leads us to a revolution of moral values.
The United States observes only ten national holidays. Three of those days celebrate individuals: Christopher Columbus Day honors a man who in our civil mythology discovered the Americas, but in reality, there were millions of natives living here long before he arrived. George Washington’s Birthday honors our first President who contributed much to our system of government, but his DNA is also found in America’s original sin of race and slavery.
And every third Monday in January, the nation honors the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Born in Atlanta, Georgia January 15, 1929 and martyred by an assassins’ bullet on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN. Dr. King’s political and religious leadership in the social movements to dismantle segregation and voter disenfranchisement is widely remembered as heroic. But we too often remember only parts of this story.
Exactly one year before his 1968 assassination, Dr. King broke his public silence about his opposition to the escalating war in Vietnam that was claiming unfathomable numbers of lives, particularly the poor. He denounced the war as inseparable from the perpetuation of racism and poverty, domestically and globally. King said that only a ‘revolution of values’ is capable of bringing change on the scale necessary to address “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism.” He saw that the nation had the material means to address all three but lacked the moral will to do so, despite the biblical, theological and civil sources that supported such action.
As we prepare to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel and the 50th anniversary of the Poor Peoples Campaign what an opportunity we have been given to find the will and resources to address “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism.” What an opportunity we have been given to find the moral center that Dr. King gave his life to and to finish the work of the prophet. There is no better way to honor a prophet than to finish the prophet’s work.
The National Civil Rights Museum, located at the historic Lorraine Motel has determined that the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., assassination cannot be just another commemoration with ceremony that only takes us back. No, this commemoration must be a movement that takes us forward. Not just a commemoration, but a commencement, a convocation that leads us to a revolution of moral values.
As Dr. William Barber of the Moral Monday Movement has said, “what will save our country is not the religious left or the religious right, but the moral center.” We want to find that moral center.
In the past several weeks, the history of the Confederate States of America and its icons have been the center of attention nationwide.
For decades, education advocates have called for reform in our country's education system. Since the early 1980s, the challenge to rethink the model has been brewing, giving prominence to changes in the ecosystem of educational options.
A recent article from Student Loan Hero revealed that the average 2016 college graduates are $37,172 in debt. With student loan debt well into the trillions, many new professional are victims of garnished wages and income taxes.
Let's be honest. The term "blight" has been appropriated to mean the condition of urban, substandard housing in communities of mostly black or brown people who apparently don't care about changing the dismal conditions in which they live.
What is the best way to create effective change, civil disobedience or armed struggle? Like Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used civil disobedience as as a means of effectuating government change on policies and laws that permitted racism, injustice and inequality.
Sixty years since Dr. King made that statement, this nation is still urging its elected officials to make the ballot more accessible. It would be another eight years after this speech, that the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, with an important pre-clearance provision to regulate Southern states that had notoriously implemented Jim Crow laws designed to thwart attempts and violently intimidate or kill African Americans looking to register to vote.
Across the country, the new school year is quickly approaching. Every year, many parents have waded through the complex issue of school choice to enroll their children in the best schools possible. This week Museum President Terri Lee Freeman discusses school choice.
In 1961, Dr. King delivered a speech to the AFL-CIO's fourth constitutional convention. He acknowledged racism within the labor movement, but also brought to the audience 's attention that the goals of the labor movement and the civil rights movement overlap.
changed. The rates of poverty in suburban America have been rapidly growing. From 2000 - 2015, the suburbs accounted for nearly half of the national poverty increase in the United States.
In Dr. King's notes about the Chicago Campaign he said, "It is reasonable to believe that if the problems of Chicago, the nation's second largest city, can be solved, they can be solved everywhere."
In Week Two, we learned that peace is far more than the absence of war and violence, but that it is a deliberate commitment to love and compassion through action. Nonviolent action is the weapon Dr. King used in his during the Civil Rights Movement by leading several peaceful demonstrations.
Fifty-Four years ago this week, NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his home in Jackson, MS. Two trials of Evers' assassin, Byron De La Beckwith, ended in hung juries in 1964. Beckwith was convicted of the murder in 1994, thirty years later.
Quality education has been a long established value in the civil rights movement.
Ruby Bridges, with new friends, a few months into her attendance at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. (Image: Alan Wieder Collection)
As early as the nineteenth century there have been cases of families challenging education inequity in their communities.
One hero that helped was Ruby Bridges. In 1960, she was the first African-American student to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.
On August 28, 1963 thousands of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington. Although the march would later become known for Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, the rallying cry that brought the crowds to Washington, DC was jobs and freedom.
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. launched a new phase of the Civil Rights Movement focused on economic justice. While the Movement had won victories in desegregation and voting rights, King said it had done little to vanquish poverty.
At the National Civil Rights Museum, we have discussed the definition of peace. While it is hard to define, we realize that peace is more than the absence of war and violence.
Welcome to 50 Weeks of Actions! You have pledged to join us in improving our communities through peace and direct action.
Civil Rights Activist Purcell Conway shares his account of the demonstrations to integrate a Florida beach, and the violence that ensued.
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As part of the MLK50 commemoration, the National Civil Rights Museum wants to collect your stories on Dr. King, his life, his death, and his legacy. As a historical museum, it is important to for us to capture not only the accounts of people who were the eyewitnesses to a historical event, but also the people impacted by that event, even years later...
As part of the MLK50 commemoration, the National Civil Rights Museum wants to collect your stories on Dr. King, his life, his death, and his legacy. As a historical museum, it is important to for us to capture not only the accounts of people who were the eyewitnesses to a historical event, but also the people impacted by that event, even years later. In the years to come, someone will wonder how people reflected on the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s death, and the writings left here will provide some insight.
Your stories are welcomed here. If you remember where you were in 1968, we want your stories. If you remember family stories about that fateful moment, we want your stories. If you saw Dr. King speak in person, or you have been inspired by his life, we want your stories. If you first learned about Dr. King in elementary school or later in life, we want your stories. If you live in the United States, or outside of the United States, we want your stories. The more stories we receive the richer the dialog. If Your Stories was a painting, each story added here will add color, depth, and dimension.
Take the time to reflect on our theme. What do you have to say? What is your story?
My parents were teenagers in 1968. My father was a 14 years old Memphian and recounts to me April 4th as if it happened yesterday. He says the tension was palpable in the city. Not only the pain of losing a great leader filling the air, but, also the shame of being the city where his life ended...
My parents were teenagers in 1968. My father was a 14 years old Memphian and recounts to me April 4th as if it happened yesterday. He says the tension was palpable in the city. Not only the pain of losing a great leader filling the air, but, also the shame of being the city where his life ended. He says, "No one addresses how the pain of that lost directly impacted the cities self-worth." Memphis is an ideal model to examine the impact of Dr. King's platforms and measure the distance we've come from the start. Dr. King was in Memphis providing support and guidance for the Memphis Sanitation Worker’s strike. The strike aimed to rectify low pay, unfit working conditions and assert the rights of workers to unionize. King’s presence in Memphis illustrated his commitment to better jobs with higher wages and peace and nonviolence. The assassination and the subsequent riots around the country were an affront to the pillars of Dr. King’s platform. Being the place where an event occurred that shook the national began a narrative that painted Memphis in a negative light. But, two weeks after King’s death, there was a resolution to the strike and recognition of the workers’ rights to unionize. The city made some pro