Patti Smith, in her award winning book Just Kids, wrote on page 66 “That spring, only days before Palm Sunday, Martin Luther King was gunned down at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis.” I read that sentence, just now, and remembered that tomorrow will be Martin Luther King Day. The coincidence struck me as sufficient enough, that I should stop reading and instead write about why we honor this man so many years after his execution on April 4, 1968 ; he was only 39 years old when he died.
There are many reasons why we honor this heroic African American. I will choose one instance as an example of his heroism and influence. It was early in the month of December of 1955, that King accepted the leadership role and responsibility of the first black nonviolent protest in the United States. It was the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted 382 days. Within that time King suffered abuses two of which included being arrested and having his home bombed.
King, along with others who took up the cause and bore the consequences, accomplished a major win on December 21, 1956, when the United States Supreme Court declared the segregation of whites and blacks on buses unconstitutional.