The African American minister and Nobel Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), originated the nonviolence strategy within the activist civil rights movement. He was one of the most important black leaders of his era.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Ga. He attended the Atlanta public schools. Following graduation from Morehouse College in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary, having been ordained the previous year into the ministry of the National Baptist Church. He graduated from Crozer in 1951 and received his doctorate in theology from Boston University in 1955.
In Boston, King met Coretta Scott, whom he married on June 18, 1953. Four children were born to them. King became minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., in 1954. He became active with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Alabama Council on Human Relations.
Nonviolence: The Bus Boycott
In December 1955, when Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested for violating a segregated seating ordinance on a public bus in Montgomery, black citizens were outraged. King, fellow minister Ralph Abernathy, and Alabama's state chairman of the NAACP called a public meeting. African Americans were urged to boycott the segregated city buses, and the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was formed. The boycott lasted over a year, until the bus company capitulated. Segregated seating was discontinued, and some African Americans were employed as bus drivers. When the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the bus segregation laws of Montgomery were unconstitutional, the boycott ended in triumph for black dignity.
Overnight, Martin Luther King had become a national hero and an acknowledged leader in the civil rights struggle. The victory had not been easy. Elected president of the MIA, King's life was in constant danger. His home was bombed, and he and other MIA leaders were threatened, harassed, arrested, and jailed.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
In January 1957 approximately 60 black ministers assembled in Atlanta to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to continue the civil rights fight. King was elected president. A few months later he met Vice President Richard Nixon at the celebration of Ghanaian independence in Accra. A year later King and three other black civil rights leaders were received by President Dwight Eisenhower. However, neither meeting resulted in any concrete relief for African Americans who, meanwhile, were growing increasingly restive under continued racial discrimination.
In February 1958 the SCLC sponsored 21 mass meetings in key southern cities as part of a "Crusade for Citizenship." The goal was to double the number of black voters in the South. King was traveling constantly now, speaking for "justice" throughout the country. A year later Dr. and Mrs. King visited India at the invitation of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. King had long been interested in Mahatma Gandhi's practice of nonviolence. Yet when they returned to the United States, the civil rights struggle had greatly intensified, and violent resistance by whites to the nonviolent efforts of black demonstrators filled the newspapers with accounts of bloody confrontations.
Increasing demands were being made upon King as an advocate of nonviolent change. He moved his family to Atlanta in 1960 and became associate pastor with his father at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Ralph Abernathy soon followed, and the two men worked in tandem for the remainder of King's career.
In February 1960 the "sit-in" movement was begun in Greensboro, N.C., by African American students protesting segregation at lunch counters in city stores. The movement quickly spread throughout North Carolina to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The black students were frequently joined by white students and other sympathizers. On April 15 the SCLC called a conference of sit-in leaders to coordinate the movement. King urged the young people to continue using nonviolent means. Out of this meeting the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) emerged. For a time the SNCC worked closely with the SCLC, though ultimately the two groups went their separate ways.
By August a report issued by the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta stated that the sit-ins had succeeded in ending segregation at lunch counters in 27 southern cities. In October delegates at the SCLC meeting resolved to focus nonviolent campaigns against all segregated public transportation, waiting rooms, and schools. They would increase emphasis on voter registration and would use economic boycotts to gain fair employment and other benefits for African Americans. An important department store in Atlanta, a widely known symbol of segregation, was the first objective. When King and 75 students entered the store and requested lunch-counter service, he and 36 others were arrested. Atlanta's mayor negotiated a truce, however, and charges were dropped, but King was imprisoned for violating his probation on a traffic offense conviction. John F. Kennedy, currently campaigning for the presidency, made a dramatic telephone call to Mrs. King. Political wheels were set in motion, and King was released.
In a subsequent move, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), SCLC, and SNCC joined in a coalition. A Freedom Ride Coordinating Committee was formed with King as chairman. The idea was to "put the sit-ins on the road" by having pairs of black and white volunteers board interstate buses traveling through the South to test compliance with a new Federal law forbidding segregated accommodations in bus stations. A great deal of violence resulted, as resisting whites overturned and burned buses, assaulted the Freedom Riders, and attacked newsmen. Many of the arrested riders went to prison rather than pay fines. However, public furor moved the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce nonsegregation laws in buses engaged in interstate transportation and in their servicing terminals.
In December 1961 King and the SCLC were invited by black leaders in Albany, Ga., to lead their civil rights struggle. After 2,000 frustrated African Americans clashed with police, King called for a "day of penitence." King himself was jailed, tried, and given a suspended sentence. In an ambitious voter education program in Albany and the surrounding area, SNCC and SCLC members were harassed by whites. Churches were bombed, and local black citizens were threatened and sometimes attacked. King's nonviolent crusade responded with prayer vigils. It was not until the 1964 Federal Civil Rights Act was passed that public facilities in Albany were desegregated.
In May 1962 King was asked to assist in the civil rights struggle in Birmingham, Ala., and the SCLC made plans to hold its annual convention there. The Birmingham campaign began with a series of workshops on nonviolence. In early 1963 King made a speaking tour, recruiting volunteers and obtaining money for bail bonds for those arrested in the struggle. On April 3 a manifesto was issued by the black community, and the campaign began in earnest with picketings and sit-ins. On the Friday before Easter, Dr. King was jailed; on Easter Sunday, African Americans appeared at white churches asking to join their fellow Christians in worship. When Dr. King's brother was arrested on his way to the Birmingham jail to pray for King, a near riot resulted.
On May 2 some 6,000 school children marched to demonstrate against school segregation; 959 children were arrested. The next day, as volunteers gathered in a church, police barred the exits, and fire hoses and police dogs were turned on the teen-age demonstrators.
The SCLC's campaign continually met harassment from the Birmingham police. Finally, a period of truce was established, and negotiations began with the city power structure. Though an agreement was reached, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the home of King's brother and the motel where SCLC members were headquartered. Enraged black citizens rioted; Alabama state troopers moved in and set up undeclared martial law. King and SCLC personnel continued to urge nonviolence, and tensions seemed to ease for a time. But more violence erupted when white racists refused to comply with Federal school integration laws. The worst came when a bomb thrown into a black church killed four little girls.
Civil Rights Rally in Washington
The year 1963 was eventful in the struggle for civil rights. In June, King and 125,000 persons marched in a "Freedom Walk" in Detroit. On August 27, over 250,000 black and white citizens assembled in Washington, D.C., for a mass civil rights rally, where King delivered his famous "Let Freedom Ring" address. That same year he was featured as Time magazine's "Man of the Year."
The next year King and his followers moved into St. Augustine, Fla., one of America's most thoroughly segregated cities. After weeks of nonviolent demonstrations and violent counterattacks by whites, a biracial committee was set up to move St. Augustine toward desegregation. A few weeks later the 1964 Civil Rights Bill was signed by President Lyndon Johnson.
In September 1964 King and Abernathy went to West Berlin at Mayor Willy Brandt's invitation, where King received an honorary doctorate from the Evangelical Theological College. The two civil rights leaders then went to Rome for an audience with Pope Paul VI. Back in the United States, King endorsed Lyndon Johnson's presidential candidacy. That December, King received the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1965 the SCLC concentrated its efforts in Alabama. The prime target was Selma, where only a handful of black citizens had been permitted to vote. King urged President Johnson to expedite the Voting Rights Bill, and he announced a march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the black people's determination to vote. But Governor George Wallace refused to permit the march, and the 500 persons who gathered to march were beaten by state troopers and "possemen." The march continued anyway, and Selma's black citizens were joined by hundreds of blacks and whites from other states, including many notable churchmen. On March 21 over 10,000 persons followed King from Selma toward Montgomery. Only 300 were allowed to make the 4-day march, but they were joined by another 25,000 in Montgomery for the march to the capital to present a petition to Governor Wallace.
New Issues: Vietnam War
In 1965 King made a "people-to-people" tour of northern cities. But the growing militancy of black people in Watts and Harlem, and even in Mississippi and Alabama, caused Dr. King to reassess the nonviolent civil rights movement, which he had fathered. Although he reaffirmed his commitment to nonviolence, he understood the intense frustration experienced by blacks when their own nonviolent tactics left them open to dangerous violence from the opposition. He was troubled, too, about the American involvement in the war in Vietnam and found himself increasingly pushed toward leadership in antiwar groups.
In 1967 King began speaking directly against the Vietnam War, although many civil rights advocates criticized this. While serving a 4-day sentence in Birmingham stemming from the 1963 demonstrations, King and his brother, Abernathy, and Wyatt Tee Walker began planning a "Poor People's March" to bring together the interests of the poor of all races.
In January 1968 Dr. King and other antiwar leaders called for a Washington rally on February 5/6. He also announced that the Poor People's March would converge in Washington on April 22. Following the February rally, King toured key cities to see firsthand the plight of the poor. Meanwhile, in Memphis, Tenn., black sanitation workers were striking to protest unequal pay and poor working conditions. The protest soon became citywide, with grievances ranging from police brutality to intolerable school conditions. In March, King went to lead the Memphis demonstrations. The march ended in a riot when some frustrated young blacks began breaking windows, looting, and burning stores. Police retaliation was swift and bloody. In Memphis on April 3, King addressed a rally; speaking of threats on his life, he urged followers to continue the nonviolent struggle no matter what happened to him.
The next evening, as King stood on an outside balcony at the Lorraine Hotel, he was struck by a rifle bullet. He was pronounced dead at 7:00 P.M. in a Memphis hospital.
King was a prolific writer. Among his most important works are Stride toward Freedom (1958), Strength to Love (1963), Why We Can't Wait (1964), Where Do We Go from Here (1967), and The Trumpet of Conscience (1968). Collections of his writings include A Martin Luther King Treasury (1964) and I Have a Dream (1968).
Further Reading on Martin Luther King Jr
Coretta Scott King, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. (1969), is his wife's account. Other biographies include Lerone Bennett, Jr., What Manner of Man (1964); William Robert Miller, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968); Charles Eric Lincoln, Martin Luther King (1969); and David L. Lewis, King: A Critical Biography (1970), written by a young black historian. An unfavorable view of King and his work is Lionel Lokos, House Divided: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King (1968).
|Martin Litchfield West|
|Born||(1937-09-23)23 September 1937|
|Died||13 July 2015(2015-07-13) (aged 77)|
|Alma mater||Balliol College, Oxford|
|Occupation||Professor, academic and author|
|Known for||Classics scholar|
Martin Litchfield West, OM, FBA (23 September 1937 – 13 July 2015) was a British classical scholar.
He wrote on ancient Greek music, Greek tragedy, Greek lyric poetry, the relations between Greece and the ancient Near East, and the connection between shamanism and early ancient Greek religion, including the Orphic tradition. This work stems from material in Akkadian, Phoenician, Hebrew, Hittite, and Ugaritic, as well as Greek and Latin.
In 2001, West produced an edition of Homer's Iliad for Teubner, accompanied by a study of its critical tradition and overall philology, entitled Studies in the Text and Transmission of the Iliad; a further volume on The Making of the Iliad appeared ten years later for Oxford University Press, and one on "The Making of the Odyssey" in 2014.
In addition to the Near-Eastern connection, in 2007 he wrote on the reconstitution of Indo-European culture and poetry, and its influence on Greece, in the book Indo-European Poetry and Myth. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship, he was awarded the Order of Merit in 2014.
Life and career
West was born in Hampton, Middlesex, the son of Catherine (née Stainthorpe) and a civil engineer, Maurice West. After graduating from St Paul's School, he proceeded to Balliol College. He married a fellow scholar Stephanie Pickard in 1960 at Nottingham, after meeting her at a lecture given by Eduard Fraenkel at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He became a junior research fellow at St John’s College from 1960-1963, where he produced his first work, an edition of Hesiod's Theogony. From the mid-sixties he took especial interest in the relation of Greek literature to the Orient, and over several decades, culminating in his masterpiece The East Face of Helicon (1997), defended his view that it was a variation on Near Eastern literature. He took up a position as tutorial fellow at University College, a position he filled from 1963 to 1974. In 1973 he became the second youngest person to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy, at the age of 35. He obtained a chair at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, which he held from 1974 until 1991, when he became a fellow of All Souls College.
West died in 2015 in Oxford at the age of 77. Fellow Oxford academic Armand D'Angour paid tribute to him as 'a man of few words in seven languages.'
Awards and honours
West was a DPhil and DLitt of Oxford University, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, a Corresponding Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften, Göttingen, and a Member of the Academia Europaea, London. HM The Queen appointed him a Member of the Order of Merit (OM) in the 2014 New Year Honours.
Academic teaching and research history
- Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford (since 2004)
- Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford (1991–2004).
- Professor of Greek, University of London (Bedford College, later Royal Holloway and Bedford New College) (1974–91).
- Fellow and Praelector in Classics, University College, Oxford (1963–74).
- Jr. Woodhouse Research Fellow, St. John's College, Oxford (1960–63).
Selected list of books
- Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, xv + 256 pp.; translation into Italian, Bologna 1993
- Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique Applicable to Greek and Latin Texts (Teubner Studienbücher), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1973, 155 pp.; translation into Greek, Athens 1989; translation into Italian, Palermo 1991; translation into Hungarian, Budapest 1999
- Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 14), Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter 1974, ix + 198 pp.
- Immortal Helen: an inaugural lecture delivered on 30 April 1975, London: Bedford College 1975, 18 pp. ISBN 0-900145-30-7
- Greek Metre, Oxford 1982, xiv + 208 pp. ISBN 0-19-814018-5
- The Orphic Poems, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1983, xii + 275 pp. ISBN 0-19-814854-2; translation into Italian, Naples 1993;
- The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Its Nature, Structure, and Origins, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1985, viii + 193 pp. ISBN 0-19-814034-7
- Introduction to Greek Metre, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1987, xi + 90 pp. ISBN 0-19-872132-3
- Studies in Aeschylus (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 1), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1990, x + 406 pp. ISBN 3-519-07450-8
- Ancient Greek Music, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992, xiii + 410 pp ISBN 0-19-814897-6; translation into Greek, Athens 1999
- Die griechische Dichterin: Bild und Rolle (Lectio Teubneriana v), Stuttgart & Leipzig: B.G. Teubner 1996, 48 pp. ISBN 3-519-07554-7
- The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997, xxvi + 662 pp. ISBN 0-19-815042-3
- Studies in the text and transmission of the Iliad. München: K.G. Saur 2001 304 pp. ISBN 3-598-73005-5
- Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007 480 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9
- The Making of the Iliad: Disquisition and Analytical Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011 441 pp. ISBN 978-0-199-59007-0
- The Making of the 'Odyssey', Oxford University Press 2014.ISBN 978-0-198-71836-9
Editions, commentaries and translations of classical texts
- Hesiod, Theogony, ed. with prolegomena and commentary by M.L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1966, xiii + 459 pp.
- Fragmenta Hesiodea, ed.: R. Merkelbach et M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967, 236 pp.
- Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 1 : Archilochus. Hipponax. Theognidea, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, revised edition 1989, xvi + 256
- Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 2 : Callinus. Mimnermus. Semonides. Solon. Tyrtaeus. Minora adespota, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1972, revised edition 1992 x + 246 pp.
- Sing me, goddess. Being the first recitation of Homer's Iliad, translated by Martin West, London: Duckworth 1971, 43 pp. ISBN 0-7156-0595-X
- Theognidis et Phocylidis fragmenta et adespota quaedam gnomica, ed. M. L. West (Kleine Texte für Vorlesungen und Übungen 192), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1978, iv + 49 pp.
- Hesiod, Works and Days, ed. with prolegomena and commentary by M.L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1978, xiii + 399 pp.
- Delectus ex Iambis et Elegis Graecis, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1980, ix + 295 pp. ISBN 0-19-814589-6
- Carmina Anacreontea, edidit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), Leipzig: Teubner 1984, xxvi + 64 pp.; corrected reprint with one page of Addenda, 1993 ISBN 3-8154-1025-8
- Euripides, Orestes, ed. with transl. and commentary by M. L. West, Warminster: Aris & Phillips 1987, ix + 297 pp. ISBN 0-85668-310-8
- Hesiod, Theogony, and Works and Days, transl. and with an introduction by M. L. West, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1988, xxv + 79 pp. ISBN 0-19-281788-4
- Aeschyli Tragoediae cum incerti poetae Prometheo, recensuit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1990, lxxxv + 508 pp. ISBN 3-519-01013-5
- Greek Lyric Poetry. The poems and fragments of the Greek iambic, elegiac, and melic poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides) down to 450 B.C., [verse translation] Oxford: Oxford university Press 1993, xxv + 213 pp. ISBN 0-19-282360-4
- Homeri Ilias. Volumen prius rhapsodias I-XII continens, recensuit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), Stuttgart & Leipzig: B.G. Teubner 1998, lxii + 372 pp. ISBN 3-519-01431-9
- Homeri Ilias. Volumen alterum rhapsodias XIII-XXIV continens, recensuit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), K. G. Saur: Leipzig & Munich 2000, vii + 396 pp.
- Homeric Hymns, Homeric Apocrypha, Lives of Homer, edited and translated by Martin L. West. (The Loeb Classical Library 496) Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 2003 ISBN 0-674-99606-2
- Greek Epic Fragments from the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC, edited and translated by Martin L. West (The Loeb Classical Library 497). London Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 2003 ISBN 0-674-99605-4
- Barrett, W. S., Greek Lyric, Tragedy, and Textual Criticism: Collected Papers, ed. M. L. West (Oxford & New York, 2007): papers dealing with Stesichorus, Pindar, Bacchylides and Euripides
- Homerus, Odyssea, ed. M. L. West, (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), De Gruyter: Berlin 2017 (posthumous)
His works also include contributions to dictionaries and books and more than 200 articles and papers since 1960.
- The Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts of Hesiod's "Theogony", Classical Quarterly 14, 1964, 165–89;
- Conjectures on 46 Greek Poets, Philologus 110, 1996, 147–68;
- The Contest of Homer and Hesiod, Classical Quarterly 17, 1967, 433–50;
- Near Eastern Material in Hellenistic and Roman Literature, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 73, 1968, 113–34;
- Stesichorus, Classical Quarterly 21, 1971, 302–14;
- Stesichorus at Lille, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 29, 1978, 1ff.;
- The Cosmology of "Hippocrates", De Hebdomadibus, Classical Quarterly 21, 1971, 365–88;
- Indo-European Metre, Glotta 51, 1973, 161–87;
- Greek Poetry 2000-700 B.C., Classical Quarterly 23, 1973, 179–92;
- The Medieval Manuscripts of the "Works and Days", Classical Quarterly 24, 1974, 161–85;
- Tragica I-VII, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 24, 1977, 89–103; 25, 1978, 106–22; 26, 1979, 104–17; 27, 1980, 9–22; 28, 1981, 61–78; 30, 1983, 63–82; 31, 1984, 171–96;
- The Prometheus Trilogy, Journal of Hellenic Studies 99, 1979, 130–48;
- The Rise of the Greek Epic, Journal of Hellenic Studies 108, 1988, 151–72;
- Analecta Musica, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 92, 1992, 1–54;
- Simonides Redivivus, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 98, 1993, 1–14;
- The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts, Music and Letters 75, 1993/4, 161–79;
- "Ab Ovo". Orpheus, Sanchuniathon, and the Origins of the Ionian World Model, Classical Quarterly 44, 1994, 289–307;
- The Date of the "Iliad", Museum Helveticum 52, 1995, 203–19;
- Akkadian Poetry: Metre and Performance, Iraq 59, 1997, 175–87;
- "Towards Monotheism", in P. Athanassiadi and M. Frede (edd.), Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity, Oxford 1999, 20–40;
- The Invention of Homer, Classical Quarterly 49(2), 1999, 364–82
- ^M.L. West's Biography at All Souls College, Oxford
- ^'Obituary: Dr Martin West - Classical scholar ‘in a class of his own’,'Oxford Mail 16 July 2015.
- ^Gregory Hutchinson, 'Martin West: Prolific scholar whose books shed new light on the archaic and early-classical periods of Greek literature,'The Independent, 3 August 2015
- ^Jane L Lightfoot, 'Martin West obituary:Scholar of ancient Greek poetry,'The Guardian 13 August 2015.
- ^'Professor Martin West, OM,'The Telegraph 21 July 2015.
- ^"Professor Martin West", Balliol College, 14 July 2015
- ^'In memoriam Martin West,'
- ^British Academy: Medals and Prizes (Kenyon Medal)
- ^P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, N. J. Richardson (eds.) Hesperos: Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry, Oxford University Press, 2007; ISBN 978-0-19-928568-6; reviewed by John Gibert, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 23 June 2008.
- ^"No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 2.
- ^Table of contents for Greek lyric, tragedy, and textual criticism : collected papers / W. S. Barrett ; assembled and edited by M. L. West at catdir.loc.gov, accessed 15 August 2008