Episode 163: Martin Luther King Jr: A True American Hero

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

On this Sofa King Podcast, we discuss the life and the amazing impact that Dr. Martin Luther King Junior had on America and the world. This man, best known for his advocating of non-violence as part of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s, won a Nobel Peace Prize and has a national day of recognition named after him in the United States.

Born the son of sharecroppers and preachers, MLK was a very bright young man, skipping two grades and being offered positions to the most prestigious of universities while only fifteen years old. He was a bit rebellious in college, drinking beer, gambling, and even dating white women (what a scandal!). In fact, he had decided against following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a religious figure. However, a mentor from Morehouse College changed all that, and King eventually got his PhD and was a fresh faced 25 year old pastor in 1964 when the Montgomery Bus Boycotts started.

These boycotts (thought to be started famously by Rosa Parks refusing to get in the back of the bus, but actually started by a different girl who refused to get in the back of the bus…) lasted over a year, and they put a young MLK into the spotlight of civil rights. From there, his influence grew, and he lead the non-violent movement that radically changed the face of America from his seat in the deep south. His life was one of frequent jail time (29 lifetime arrestes) for breaking racist laws, as well as constant death threats and house fires trying to silence him. But Martin Luther King wouldn’t stop.

He was a master orator who wrote speeches and letters so profoundly beautiful that they are often found in literature anthologies, one of them from inside a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama. MLK made a lot of enemies, however, and not just racist whites. Many blacks who wanted a more aggressive and radical civil rights movement snubbed him and gave him opposition.

Eventually, on April 4, 1968, he was killed by an assassin’s bullet. The common thought is that it was a racist drifter named James Earl Ray, but many people allege a conspiracy, including MLK’s wife. Why was he stabbed by a black woman by a letter opener? What happened at a civil trial in the 1990s to suggest a governmental conspiracy in killing King? Was the Mob involved? Who was Lloyd Jowers, and how was he involved in King’s death? Why did some states refuse to celebrate Martin Luther King day? Listen, laugh, learn.

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