The Burton Wire is proud to announce the addition of The Akosua Report: Facts on The African Diaspora, written by Akosua Lowery. The Akosua Report will outline historical facts of importance about descendants of Africa throughout the Diaspora. We thought it fitting to launch this column on the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the world’s leading philosopher, scholar, peace activist and change agent, was born. With the same spirit of education, community, change and connection, we bring you The Akosua Report, where you will find informed facts (based on research) about the African Diaspora.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
“It [Ghanain Independence] renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice. And it seems to me that this is fit testimony to the fact that eventually the forces of justice triumph in the universe, and somehow the universe itself is on the side of freedom and justice. So that this gives new hope to me in the struggle for freedom as I confront it.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Interview with Etta Moten Barnett; Accra, Ghana (March 6, 1957)
On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr., clergyman, activist and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was born in Atlanta, Georgia. King entered Morehouse College at the age of 15 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1948. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951 and a Ph.D. from Boston University in 1955. King led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and in 1957 helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, serving as its first president. King was the 1957 recipient of the NAACP Spingarn Medal.
In 1963, Dr. King led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Dr. King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1971, Dr. King was posthumously awarded the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. In 1980, the Department of Interior designated his boyhood home and several nearby buildings the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.
On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King and on January 17, 2000 Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time. More than 750 cities in the United States have streets named after King. A memorial to King sits at the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Follow Akosua Lowery on Twitter @AkosuaLowery.