Education of Martin Luther King Jr.

7 minute read
Education of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”
One of the greatest political and spiritual leaders of the 20th century, Martin Luther King Jr. is the face of perseverance for every oppressed soul on the planet. He is one of the foremost political leaders in America who worked extensively in the field of Human Rights and demolishing the racial barriers prevalent in society. His work speaks for itself, and so does the legacy which he left behind in the form of structural and cultural changes he brought forward in the United States of America. Through this blog, let’s explore the inspiring life and education of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” 

Childhood and Early Education 

Martin Luther King Jr.
Courtesy: Success Story

Born on 15th January 1929 in a religious family, Martin was named Michael at his birth, the second child to Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta King. Raised in the segregated suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, Martin witnessed and resented the racial discrimination which was rooted within the society, down to its Legislation. Although his mother taught him to read and write even before he joined the elementary school, formal education of Martin Luther King Jr. started when he joined David T. Howard Elementary School at the age of 5. A brilliant student from an early age, he skipped a few of his grades to move ahead with his education. King Jr. was known for his oratory skills, featuring on the school debate team for many years, before finally graduating from Booker T. Washington High School at the mere age of 15. This was a major highlight of education of Martin Luther King Jr., as it was fairly unusual for students to graduate at such a young age.

“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a  sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” 

Higher Studies and Religious Education

During the end of school education of Martin Luther King Jr., he got a chance to expand his academic horizons, as many students enrolled in World War II recruitment. He was applied to Morehouse College by taking an entrance test for High School students which would lead to direct admission. After clearing the test, Martin pursued a BA Sociology degree and also got acquainted with the college football team. During the last year of his graduation, he chose to pursue the Ministry. Although known as an underachiever in his college years which ended in 1948, King decided to pursue three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. These years turned out to be crucial for the education of Martin Luther King Jr. as he found his true calling in Social Work, and found the best means to follow it in devotion.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Completing his Bachelors of Divinity in 1951, these years exposed him to the works of another renowned world leader, Mahatma Gandhi who influenced his ideology thereupon throughout his life. King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University, vis-a-vis focusing on his religious activities. He completed his PhD in 1955, with it concluding his educational journey.

This quality education is what laid the foundation for Martin to express his knowledge freely, helping him connect to the masses the way he did. It was this education that ingrained him with the ideas of justice and equality, along with the ideologies of other Social workers like Mahatma Gandhi. And without a doubt, the roots of racial equality in the USA were sown with the incessant efforts from people like Martin Luther King Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

The Purpose of Education

“The Purpose of Education” is an essay that was beautifully composed by Martin Luther. Let’s look at the summary of the essay.

Written in 1947 for The Maroon Tiger, the Morehouse College campus newspaper, “The purpose of education” describes that education must be backed by utility and morality. King argues that for the ‘brethrens’ education is the equipment to exploit the masses. Education must not be used merely for learning, but for using it to think critically. It should help mankind become more efficient. The purpose of education is to build conscience and help people think logically and scientifically.

Lessons to Learn from the Life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Courtesy: Pinterest

Life lessons from great personalities and visionaries like Martin Luther King are not confined to a few instances or principles, their whole life is an example for others to follow. Through his words, and especially his actions, Martin brought forward certain benchmarks for the people to follow for the establishment of an ideal society. Along with discovering the enlightening journey and education of Martin Luther King Jr, here are some things that we can learn from his life:

Do Not Be Afraid to Demand Change and Work For it

It is easy to bend the knee in front of insurmountable obstacles, and it often seems to be the only way out. The practice of racial discrimination which spanned as far as the genesis of the USA itself is no less than a mountain, and it must have seemed so much so with the Judiciary supporting the practice. In such a situation, it is due to a sheer will that these leaders won what was rightfully theirs. They demanded change: a change for the better, and they demanded it with pomp and vigour. And as we all know, all their efforts paid unprecedented rewards.

Dare to Dream

Martin Luther King Jr.
Courtesy: Hollywood Reporter

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed — we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Above any other message that Martin Luther King Jr. stands for in the heart of people, is the idea of dreaming. Dreaming for a better tomorrow for one and for all, with no bias or hatred in any heart was what led to racial liberty in the USA. It is the power of such dreams which has shifted power to the hands of the weak, which makes people hope for a better tomorrow every day. As important as it is to work, the value of a dream must not be undermined.

Be Ready to Give to the World More Than you Take

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life, is what is important.

Although Martin Luther is considered to be an icon for racial equality, his work exceeded far beyond that. As a pastor, he worked for human betterment, irrespective of colour or creed. He believed in the word of the lord while putting the best of his virtues, i.e. kindness in his daily activities. He believed in giving what he had, and giving what he himself needed all the more.

Stand Strong for Justice in Face of Adversity

Throughout the years he worked for racial equality, Martin faced a plethora of backlash. All kinds of opposers would threaten and assault him, going as far as bombing his house. In the face of such adversities along with the law itself, Martin never accepted to leave his ground. He stood firm and tall for his people, up until the very end when he was assassinated while conducting a peace march.

Hate the Evil, Not the Evildoers

While working for racial equality, it became crucial to understand that the end goal was to abolish the cruel practice, and not to avenge the past. It is impossible to establish harmony as long as the heart carries a grudge, hence Martin adopted the best possible alternative for action, i.e. non-violence and love. His protests preached love, even for the fair coloured, and that is also the reason for the movement’s success. It was progressive at heart in all means, having compassion and forgiveness at its core instead of ill-will and grudge.

Accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Having lived a life fighting for the African Americans in the United States, King had several accomplishments in his life. Here are a few major accomplishments of Martin Luther King.

  • King had led the Birmingham campaign.
  • He played a major role in organizing the great march on Washington on August 28, 1963.
  • His speech ‘I Have a Dream’  intensified the civil rights movement. 
  • Martin Luther King was time magazine’s man of the year in 1963.
  • He also became the youngest recipient of the Nobel peace prize on October 14, 1964.
  • He achieved success using non-violent methods of protest inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Martin Luther King became the symbolic leader of African Americans.

With this, we conclude our blog on the Education of Martin Luther King Jr. Hope it provided you with the inspiring life journey and imperative lessons to learn from Martin Luther King Jr. If you are inspired by the educational path pursued by Martin Luther King Jr. and want to follow his footsteps, we can help you reach your destination. At Leverage Edu, we provide you access to thousands of academic opportunities spread across numerous countries around the globe. To begin your journey towards a successful career, sign up for an e-meeting with our professional career experts for free!

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