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Martin Luther King Jr., Part 1

所属教程:People in America 更新:01-19
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Anncr:

People in America - a program in Special English on the Voice ofAmerica.

(Theme)

Today, Warren Scheer and Shep O'Neal begin the story of civilrights leader Martin Luther King Junior.

((Theme))

VOICE 1:

It all started on a bus. A black woman was returning home fromwork after a long, hard day. She sat near the front of the busbecause she was tired and her legs hurt. But the bus belonged to thecity of Montgomery in the southern state of Alabama. And the yearwas nineteen fifty-five.

RosaParks
RosaParks

In those days, black people couldsit only in the back of the bus. So the driver ordered the woman togive up her seat. But the woman refused, and she was arrested.

Incidents like this had happened before. But no one had everspoken out against such treatment of blacks. This time, however, ayoung black preacher organized a protest. He called on all blackcitizens to stop riding the buses in Montgomery until the laws werechanged.

The name of the young preacher was Martin Luther King. He led theprotest movement to end injustice in the Montgomery city bus system.The protest became known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The protestmarked the beginning of the civil rights movement in the UnitedStates.

This is the story of Martin Luther King, and his part in theearly days of the civil rights movement.

VOICE 2:

Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, innineteen-twenty-nine. He was born into a religious family. Martin'sfather was a preacher at a Baptist church. And his mother came froma family with strong ties to the Baptist religion.

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In nineteen twenty-nine, atlantawas one of the wealthiest cities in the southern part of the UnitedStates. Many black families came to the city in search of a betterlife. There was less racial tension between blacks and whites inAtlanta than in other southern cities. But Atlanta still had lawsdesigned to keep black people separate from whites.

The laws of racial separation existed all over the southern partof the United States. They forced blacks to attend separate schoolsand live in separate areas of a city. Blacks did not have the samerights as white people, and were often poorer and less educated.

VOICE 1:

Martin Luther King did not know about racial separation when hewas young. But as he grew older, he soon saw that blacks were nottreated equally.

One day martin and his father went out to buy shoes. They entereda shoe store owned by a white businessman.

The businessman sold shoes to all people. But he had a rule thatblacks could not buy shoes in the front part of the store. Heordered martin's father to obey the rule. Martin never forgot hisfather's angry answer:

"If you do not sell shoes to black people at the front of thestore, you will not sell shoes to us at all."

Such incidents, however, were rare during martin's early life.Instead, he led the life of a normal boy. Martin liked to learn, andhe passed through school very quickly. He was only fifteen when hewas ready to enter the university. The university, called MorehouseCollege, was in Atlanta. Morehouse College was one of the fewuniversities in the South where black students could study.

VOICE 2:

It was at the university that Martin decided to become apreacher. At the same time, he also discovered he had a gift forpublic speaking.

He soon was able to test his gifts. One Sunday, Martin's fatherasked him to preach at his church. When Martin arrived, the churchmembers were surprised to see such a young man getting ready tospeak to them. But they were more surprised to find themselvesdeeply moved by the words of young Martin Luther King.

A church member once described him: "The boy seemed much olderthan his years. He understood life and its problems."

VOICE 1:

Martin seemed wise to others because of his studies at theuniversity. He carefully read the works of Mahatma Gandhi, theIndian leader and thinker. Martin also studied the books of theAmerican philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Both men wrote about waysto fight injustice. Gandhi had led his people to freedom bypeacefully refusing to obey unjust laws. He taught his followersnever to use violence. Thoreau also urged people to disobey lawsthat were not just, and to be willing to go to prison for theirbeliefs.

As he studied, Martin thought he had found the answer for hispeople. The ideas of Gandhi and Thoreau -- non-violence and civildisobedience could be used together to win equal rights for blackAmericans. Martin knew, then, that his decision to become a preacherwas right. He believed that as a preacher he could spread the ideasof Gandhi and Thoreau. Years later he said:

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"My university studies gave me thebasic truths I now believe. I discovered the idea of humanity'soneness and the dignity and value of all human character."

VOICE 2:

Martin continued his studies in religion for almost ten years.When he was twenty-two, he moved north to study in Boston.

It was in Boston that martin met Coretta Scott, the woman wholater became his wife.

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Graphic Image

Martin always had been verypopular with the girls in his hometown. His brother once said thatMartin "never had one girlfriend for more than a year."

VOICE 1:

But Martin felt Coretta Scott was different. The first time hesaw her Martin said: "You have everything I have ever wanted in awife."

Coretta was surprised at his words. But she felt that Martin wasserious and honest. A short time later, they were married. Martinsoon finished his studies in Boston, and received a doctorate degreein religion. The young preacher then was offered a job at a churchin Montgomery, Alabama.

VOICE 2:

Martin Luther King and his wife were happy in Montgomery. Theirfirst child was born. Martin's work at the church was going well. Hebecame involved in a number of activities to help the poor. And themembers of his church spoke highly of their new preacher. Corettaremembered their life as simple and without worries.

Then, a black woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested for sitting in thewhite part of a montgomery city bus. And Martin Luther Kingorganized a protest against the Montgomery bus system.

Martin believed it was very important for the bus boycott tosucceed -- more important even than his own life. But he worriedabout his ability to lead such an important campaign. He was onlytwenty-six years old. He prayed to God for help and believed thatGod answered his prayers.

VOICE 1:

Martin knew that his actions and his speeches would be importantfor the civil rights movement. But he was faced with a seriousproblem. He asked: "How can I make my people militant enough to winour goals, while keeping peace within the movement."

The answer came to him from the teachings of gandhi and thoreau.In his first speech as a leader, Martin said:

"We must seek to show we are right through peaceful, not violentmeans. Love must be the ideal guiding our actions. If we protestbravely, and yet with pride and Christian love, then futurehistorians will say: "There lived a great people, a black people,who gave new hope to civilization."

With these words, a new movement was born. It was non-violent andpeaceful. But victory was far from sure, and many difficult days ofstruggle lay ahead.

(Theme)

Anncr:

You have been listening to the VOA Special English program,People in America. Your narrators were Warren Scheer and ShepO'Neal. Our program was written by William Rodgers. Listen againnext week at this time, when we will complete the story of civilrights leader Martin Luther King Junior.

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