Hugh Masekela

South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer Hugh Masekela was born in KwaGuqa Township, Witbank, South Africa on 4 April 1939. As a child, he began singing and playing piano and was largely raised by his grandmother, who ran an illegal bar for miner At the age of 14, after seeing the 1950 film Young Man with a Horn (in which Kirk Douglas plays a character modelled on American jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke), Masekela took up playing the trumpet. His first trumpet was bought for him from a local music store by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter’s Secondary School now known as St. Martin’s School (Rosettenville). Huddleston asked the leader of the then Johannesburg “Native” Municipal Brass Band, Uncle Sauda, to teach Masekela the rudiments of trumpet playing. Masekela quickly mastered the instrument. Soon, some of his schoolmates also became interested in playing instruments, leading to the formation of the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa’s first youth orchestra. When LouisArmstrong heard of this band from his friend Huddleston he sent one of his own trumpets as a gift for Hugh. By 1956, after leading other ensembles, Masekela joined Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue

From 1954, Masekela played music that closely reflected his life experience. The agony, conflict, and exploitation South Africa faced during the 1950s and 1960s inspired and influenced him to make music and also spread political change. He was an artist who in his music vividly portrayed the struggles and sorrows, as well as the joys and passions of his country. His music protested about apartheid, slavery, government; the hardships individuals were living. Masekela reached a large population that also felt oppressed due to the country’s situation. Following a Manhattan Brothers tour of South Africa in 1958, Masekela wound up in the orchestra of the musical King Kong, written by Todd Matshiki. King Kong toured South Africa for a sold-out year with Miriam Makeba and the Manhattan Brothers’ Nathan Mdledle. The musical later went to London’s West End for two years. In 1959, Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Makhaya Ntshoko, Johnny Gertze and Hugh formed the Jazz Epistles the first African jazz group to record an LP. They performed to record-breaking audiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town

Following the 21 March 1960 Sharpeville massacre—where 69 protestors were shot dead in Sharpeville, and the South African government banned gatherings of ten or more people—and the increased brutality of the Apartheid state, Masekela left the country assisted by Trevor Huddleston and international friends such as Yehudi Menuhin and John Dankworth, who got him admitted into London’s Guildhall School of Music in 1960. Masekela moved to the United States to attend the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he studied classical trumpet from 1960 to 1964 and was befriended by Harry Belafonte. In 1964, Mariam Makeba and Masekela were married, divorcing in 1966. He had hits in the United States with “Up, Up and Away” and “Grazing in the Grass” He also appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and was subsequently featured in the film Monterey Pop by D. A. Pennebaker. In 1974, Masekela and friend Stewart Levine organised the Zaire 74 music festival in Kinshasa set around the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match. He played primarily in jazz ensembles, with guest appearances on recordings by The Byrds (“So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Lady Friend”) and Paul Simon (“Further to Fly”). In 1984, Masekela released the album Techno Bush; featuring the single “Don’t Go Lose It Baby” then In 1987, he had a hit single with “Bring Him Back Home” which became an unofficial anthem of the anti-apartheid movement

A renewed interest in his African roots led Masekela to collaborate with West and Central African musicians, and finally to reconnect with Southern African players when he set up with the help of Jive Records a mobile studio in Botswana, just over the South African border, from 1980 to 1984. Here he re-absorbed and re-used mbaqanga strains, a style he continued to use following his return to South Africa in the early 1990s In 1985 Masekela founded the Botswana International School of Music (BISM), giving local musicians of all ages and from all backgrounds the opportunity to play and perform together. Masekela taught the jazz course at the first workshop, and performed at the final concert.

Masekela also toured with Paul Simon in support of The album Graceland, featuring South African artists such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba, Ray Phiri. He also collaborated in the musical development for the Broadway play, Sarafina! In 2003, he was featured in the documentary film Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony. In 2004, he released his autobiography, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh who, co-authored with journalist D. Michael Cheers which detailed Masekela’s struggles against apartheid in his homeland, as well as his personal struggles with alcoholism. His sound began blending mbaqanga, jazz/funk with South African sounds. he recorded with Herb Alpert plus the solo albums Techno-Bush, Tomorrow (featuring the anthem “Bring Him Back Home”), Uptownship (a lush-sounding ode to American R&B), Beatin’ Aroun de Bush, Sixty, Time, and Revival. The song “Soweto Blues”, sung by his former wife, Miriam Makeba, is a blues/jazz piece that mourns the carnage of the Soweto riots in 1976. He also did cover versions of songs composed by Jorge Ben, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Caiphus Semenya, Jonas Gwangwa, Dorothy Masuka, and Fela Kuti.

In 2006 Masekela was described by Michael A. Gomez, professor of history and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University as “the father of South African jazz.” In 2009, Masekela released the album Phola (meaning “to get well, to heal”), which includes a new reinterpretation of “The Joke of Life (Brinca de Vivre)”. In 2010, Masekela was featured, with his son Selema Masekela, in the series, Umlando – Through My Father’s Eyes, Which focused on Hugh’s and Selema’s travels through South Africa. In 2013, Masekela guested with the Dave Matthews Band in Johannesburg, South Africa joining Rashawn Ross on trumpet for “Proudest Monkey” and “Grazing in the Grass”. In 2016, Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim performed together for the first time in 60 years at the Jazz Epistles at the Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, which commemorated the 40th anniversary of the historic 16 June 1976 youth demonstrations. Masakela sadly died in Johannesburg on the early morning of 23 January 2018 from prostate cancer, aged 78. 23 January 2018. He has been described as “the father of South African jazz”.

Dave Hill (Slade)

Dave Hill, the guitarist with 1970’s Glam rock band Slade was born 4 April 1946 I nHolbeton, Devon, the son of a mechanic, he moved with his parents to Penn, Wolverhampton when he was a year old. There he attended Springdale Junior school and Highfields Secondary school. He bought his first guitar from a mail order catalogue and received some guitar lessons from a science teacher at his school. He then formed a band called The Young Ones with some school friends. He worked in an office for Tarmac Limited for over two years after leaving school.

He originally played with drummer Don Powell in a band called The Vendors, whose name was then changed to The N’ Betweens. The pair then met bass guitarist / keyboard player / violinist / guitarist Jim Lea who got in at an audition. Drummer Don Powell then spotted Noddy Holder playing with Steve Brett & The Mavericks and he and Hill got Holder to join the N’Betweens. They regrouped as Ambrose Slade, and changed the name to Slade.

Slade rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s with 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones. The British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. They were the first act to achieve three singlesenter at number one; all six of the band’s chart-toppers were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Total UK sales stand at 6,520,171, and their best selling single, “Merry Xmas Everybody”, has sold in excess of one million copies. Following an unsuccessful move to the United States in 1975, Slade’s popularity waned but was unexpectedly revived in 1980 when they were last minute replacements for Ozzy Osbourne at the Reading Rock Festival. The band later acknowledged this to have been one of the highlights of their career. Though Hill is left-handed, he played and still plays guitar right-handed. Hill’s best known guitar was the “John Birch Superyob” that was built in 1973. The guitar was used by Madness guitarist Chris Foreman in the video for Madness’ song “Shut Up” and is now owned by Marco Pirroni of Adam and the Ants. He is known for his flamboyant costumes.

Sadly The original line up split in 1992 however the band reformed the following year as Slade II and has continued, with a number of line-up changes, to the present day. They have now shortened the group name back to Slade. A number of diverse artists have cited Slade as an influence, including grunge icons Nirvan and the Smashing Pumpkins, punk pioneers the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the Runaways and the Clash, glam followers Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister,Quiet Riot, Poison and Def Leppard, pop-rock stalwarts the Replacements, Cheap Trick and Oasis. Over the years Slade have become known for Holder’s powerful vocals, guitarist Dave Hill’s equally arresting dress sense and the deliberate misspelling of their song titles. Their song Merry Christmas is also repeated annually during every Christmas Season.

Pick Withers (Dire Straits)

Pick Withers, the drummer with Dire Straits and Magna Carter was born 4 April 1948. Formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), they recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.

The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits the album had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances. “ Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits were nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.

In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980. Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. wgich resulted in The double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was released in March 1984.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD forma

Their sound drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. Mark Knopfler and John Illsley were the only two original bandmates who remained until Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, since then Withers has been the drummer and percussionist for Magna Carter.

Gary Moore

Northern Irish singer,songwriter and guitar virtuoso Gary Moore was born 4 April 1952. Moore grew up on Castleview Road opposite Stormont Parliament Buildings, off the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast. He left the city as a teenager, because of troubles in his family – his parents parted a year later – just as The Troubles were starting in Northern Ireland. Moore started performing at a young age, having picked up a battered acoustic guitar at the age of eight. He got his first quality guitar at the age of 14, learning to play the right-handed instrument in the standard way despite being left-handed.

Aiming to become a musician, he moved to Dublin at the age of 16. Moore’s greatest influence in the early days was guitarist Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac who was a mentor to Moore when performing in Dublin. Green’s continued influence on Moore was later repaid as a tribute to Green on his 1995 album Blues for Greeny, an album consisting entirely of Green compositions. On this tribute album, Moore played Green’s 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar which Green had lent to Moore after leaving Fleetwood Mac. Moore ultimately purchased the guitar, at Green’s request, so that “it would have a good home” . Other early musical influences were artists such as Albert King, Elvis Presley, The Shadows, and The Beatles. Later, having seen Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in his home town of Belfast, his own style was developing into a blues-rock sound that would be the dominant form of his career in music. Moore went on to share the stage with such blues and rock musicians as B.B. King, Albert King, Jack Bruce, Albert Collins, George Harrison, and Greg Lake, as well as having a successful solo career. He guested on a number of albums recorded by high-profile musicians.

In Dublin, Moore joined the group Skid Row with Noel Bridgeman and Brendan “Brush” Shiels. In 1970, Moore moved to England and remained there, apart from two short periods in the United States. In 1973, under the name “The Gary Moore Band”, he released his first solo album, Grinding Stone and received “Album of the Year” accolades on KTAC-FM/Seattle-Tacoma, Washington, in 1974. In 1974 he re-joined Phill Lynott, when he first joined Thin Lizzy after the departure of founding member Eric Bell. From 1975 to August 1978, he was a member of Colosseum II. With the band he also collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the composer’s Variations album in 1978 and In 1977, Moore re-joined Thin Lizzy, replacing Brian Robertson. In July 1979, he left the band permanently to focus on his solo career, again with help from Phil Lynott. The combination of Moore’s blues-based guitar and Lynott’s voice produced “Parisienne Walkways and the Thin Lizzy album Black Rose: A Rock Legend. Moore also appears in the videos for “Waiting for an Alibi” and “Do Anything You Want To”. He experimented with many musical genres, including rock, jazz, blues, country, electric blues, hard rock, and heavy metal. In 1987, he performed a guitar solo for a cover of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” for Ferry Aid which raised money for the survivors of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. In 1990, he also played the lead guitar solo on “She’s My Baby” from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.

Moore returned to blues music with Still Got the Blues (1990), with contributions from Albert King, Albert Collins, and George Harrison. In 1997 he released the albumDark Days in Paradise followed by the album A Different Beat in 1999, He also contributed guitar sections to Richard Blackwood’s 2000 album, You’ll Love to Hate This. In 2001 he released Back to the Blues, this was followed byPower of the Blues (2004), Old New Ballads Blues (2006), Close As You Get (2007), and Bad For You Baby (2008).In January 2005, Moore joined the One World Project, which recorded a song Entitled Grief Never Grow Old,for the 2004 Asian Tsunami relief effort. The group featured Russell Watson, Boy George, Steve Winwood, Barry Gibb, Brian Wilson, Cliff Richard, Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, and Robin Gibb on vocals (in their order of appearance), and featured a guitar solo by Moore. He also took part in a comedy skit entitled “The Easy Guitar Book Sketch” with comedian Rowland Rivron and fellow musicians Mark Knopfler, Lemmy from Motörhead, Mark King from Level 42, and David Gilmour. He collaborated with a broad range of artists including Trilok Gurtu, Dr. Strangely Strange, Jimmy Nail, Mo Foster, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Jim Capaldi, B.B. King, Vicki Brown, Cozy Powell, Rod Argent, the Beach Boys, Paul Rodgers, Keith Emerson, Roger Daltrey, and Otis Redding. Sadly on 6 February 2011 Gary Moore died of a heart attack in his sleep at the age of 58 While on holiday at the Kempinski Hotel in Estepona, Spain and was laid to rest in St Margaret’s Churchyard, Rottingdean, East Sussex, England, in a private ceremony, with only the family and close friends in attendance.

Throughout his career, Moore was recognised as an influence by many notable guitarists including Martin Barre, Vivian Campbell, Patrick Rondat, John Norum, Paul Gilbert, Gus G, Slash, Orianthi, Joe Bonamassa, Adrian Smith, Doug Aldrich, Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, John Sykes, Gary W Suede, and Kirk Hammett. many fellow musicians have also commented on Gary Moore’s talents including Ozzy Osbourne, Kirk Hammett, Eric Singer,Doug Aldrich, Tony Iommi, Bob Geldof, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Brian Downey,Andy DiGelsomina,Ricky Warwick, Glenn Hughes, Bryan Adams, Henry Rollins, Scott Gorham,Ignacio Garay, and Mikael Åkerfeldt. In 2011, a number of musicians including Eric Bell and Brian Downey, Thunder rising, Silverbird and The Business blues band gathered for a tribute concert in Whelan’s bar in Dublin, Ireland titled ‘The Gig For Gary’ and A large statue of Moore was erected on a small island outside Skånevik, following his many performances at the Skånevik Blues Festival.

Junior Braithwaite

Reggae musician Franklin Delano Alexander Braithwaite, better known as Junior Braithwaite was born 4 April 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was the youngest member of the vocal group, The Wailing Wailers which Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh started in 1963, when ska music had become popular in Jamaica. Soon after Beverly Kelso and Cherry Smith joined the group as backing vocalists.

He joined Bob Marley and the Wailers were a Jamaican reggae band led by Bob Marley which developed from the earlier ska vocal group, the Wailers, created by Marley with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. By late 1963 singers Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith had joined the Wailers. By the early 1970s, Marley and Bunny Wailer had learned to play some instruments and brothers Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass) and Carlton Barrett (drums), had joined the band. After Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh left the band in 1974, Marley began touring with new band members. His new backing band included the Barrett brothers, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl “Wya” Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion. The “I Threes”, consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley’s wife, Rita, provided backing vocals.

The lineup was known variously as the Teenagers, the Wailing Rudeboys, the Wailing Wailers and finally the Wailers. The original lineup featured Junior Braithwaite on vocals, Bob Marley on guitar, Peter Tosh on keyboard, Neville Livingston (a.k.a. Bunny Wailer) on drums, and Cherry Smith and Beverley Kelso on backing vocals. By 1966 Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith had left the band, which then consisted of the trio Livingston, Marley and Tosh. Some of the Wailers’ most notable songs were recorded with Lee “Scratch” Perry and his studio band the Upsetters. In 1964, the Wailers topped the Jamaican charts with Simmer Down. The Wailers also worked with renowned reggae producer Leslie Kong, who used his studio musicians called Beverley’s All-Stars (Jackie Jackson, Paul Douglas, Gladstone Anderson, Winston Wright, Rad Bryan, Hux Brown) to record the songs that would be released as an album entitled “The Best of The Wailers”.

Braithwaite was with The Wailers for eight months and sang lead on such songs as “Habits”, “Straight and Narrow Way”, “Don’t Ever Leave Me”, and “It Hurts To Be Alone”. He had the best voice in The Wailers, according to Studio One’s Coxsone Dodd, who discovered the band’s talent. Bob Marley later commented: “Junior used to sing high. It’s just nowadays that I’m beginning to realize that he sounded like one of the Jackson Five. When he left we had to look for a sound that Bunny, Peter and me could manage.”Braithwaite left the band in 1964 and moved to the United States with hopes of pursuing a medical career, living in Chicago and southern Wisconsin for the next 20 years. He returned to Jamaica in 1984 to work with Bunny Wailer on a Wailers’ reunion project. however he was tragically murdered on 2 June 1999 in the home of a fellow musician in Kingston and with the assassination of Peter Tosh in September 1987, plans for world tours with a reunited Wailers never materialized.

Martin Luther King

American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement Martin Luther King Jnr. Was Born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in Atlanta & attended Booker T. Washington High School, where he skipped both ninth and twelfth grade and entered Morehouse College at age fifteen without formally graduating from high school. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1951. King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, when he was twenty-five years old, in 1954. King then began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and got his Doctor of Philosophy on June 5, 1955, with a dissertation on “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman”. Civil rights leader, theologian, and educator Howard Thurman was an early influence on King and While studying at Boston University, King often visited Thurman. inspired by Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism, King visited Gandhi’s birthplace in India in 1959, which deepened his understanding of non-violent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. African American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin also studied Gandhi’s teachings and taught King the principles of non-violence.

In March 1955, a pregnant, unmarried fifteen-year-old school girl named, Claudette Colvin, refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in compliance with the Jim Crow laws, then on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. In response Nixon and King orchestrated the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted for 385 days, and became so tense that King’s house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses. In 1957, King, Ralph Abernathy, and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), to organise non-violent protests to bring about civil rights reform. As the leader of the SCLC, King maintained a policy of not publicly endorsing a U.S. political party or candidate. He also expressed a view that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs. On September 20, 1958, while signing copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom King was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener by Izola Curry, a deranged black woman, and narrowly escaped death. King used Gandhi’s nonviolent techniques to change the civil rights laws in Alabama & applied non-violent philosophy to the protests organized by the SCLC believing that organized, nonviolent protest against southern segregation was more effective

imageMany Americans believed that the Civil Rights Movement was the most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s. King organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labour rights and other basic civil rights. Most of which were successfully enacted into the law of the United States with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Albany Movement was formed in Albany, Georgia to organise nonviolent attack on every aspect of segregation within the city and attracted nationwide attention. In April 1963, the SCLC began a campaign against racial segregation and economic injustice in Birmingham, Alabama, using nonviolent but intentionally confrontational tactics, developed in part by Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker. Black people in Birmingham, organizing with the SCLC, occupied public spaces with marches and sit-ins, openly violating laws they considered unfair. King and the SCLC also held demonstrations in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964, marching nightly through the city suffering violent attacks from white supremacists. Hundreds of the marchers were arrested and jailed. In December 1964, King and the SCLC joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama to secure voter registration. This led to A local judge issuing an injunction that barred any gathering of 3 or more people affiliated with the SNCC, SCLC, DCVL, or any of 41 named civil rights leaders, however King defied it by speaking at Brown Chapel on January 2, 1965.

King was also among the leaders of the so-called “Big Six” civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on August 28, 1963. The other leaders and organizations comprising the Big Six were Roy Wilkins from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Whitney Young, National Urban League; A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; John Lewis, SNCC; and James L. Farmer, Jr. of the Congress of Racial Equality. The march highlighted the desperate condition of blacks in the southern U.S. and brought peoples concerns and grievances to the attention of the Federal Government And also aimed to Safeguard the civil rights and physical safety of civil rights workers and blacks and bring an end to racial segregation in public schools; meaningful civil rights legislation, including a law prohibiting racial discrimination in employment; protection of civil rights workers from police brutality; a $2 minimum wage for all workers; and self-government for Washington, D.C.then governed by congressional committee. King also delivered a 17-minute speech, later known as “I Have a Dream”.

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The march was a resounding success and more than a quarter of a million people of diverse ethnicities attended the event, sprawling from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial onto the National Mall and around the reflecting pool. At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington, D.C.’s history. Malcolm X however, called it the “Farce on Washington,” and the Nation of Islam forbade its members from attending the march.Throughout his participation in the civil rights movement, King was criticized by many other groups. This included opposition by more militant blacks and such prominent critics as Nation of Islam member Malcolm X. Stokely Carmichael was a separatist and disagreed with King’s plea for racial integration because he considered it an insult to a uniquely African-American culture. Omali Yeshitela urged Africans to remember the history of violent European colonization and how power was not secured by Europeans through integration, but by violence and force.

King, James Bevel, the SCLC and SNCC, originally Tried to March from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery, on March 7, 1965 but were prevented my Mob Violence and Police Violence against the demonstrators. This day has since become known as Bloody Sunday And was a major turning point in the effort to gain public support for the Civil Rights Movement, demonstrated the potential of King’s nonviolence strategy. In 1966, after several successes in the South, King and others in the civil rights organizations moved to a Chicago slum to show their support and empathy for the poor And several marches took place in Bogan, Belmont Cragin, Jefferson Park, Evergreen Park (a suburb southwest of Chicago), Gage Park, Marquette Park. In Chicago they left Jesse Jackson, a seminary student who had previously joined the movement in the South, charge of their organization and Jackson continued their struggle for civil rights. In 1965 King began to publicly express doubts about the Vietnam War and

On April 4, 1967 he appeared at the New York City Riverside Church delivering a speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”. In which He opposed the U.S.’s role in the Vietnam war because it took money and resources that could have been better spent in the United States. this cost him significant support among white allies, including President Johnson, union leaders and powerful publishers.King also began to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation and a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice and oN the day after President Johnson’s State of the Union Address, King called for a large march on Washington against “one of history’s most cruel and senseless wars”.

In 1968, King and the SCLC organized the “Poor People’s Campaign” to address issues of economic injustice. And King assembled“a multiracial army of the poor” that would march on Washington to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol until Congress created an ‘economic bill of rights’ for poor Americans which ensured economic aid to the poorest communities in the United States and to invest in rebuilding America’s cities. He envisioned a change that was more revolutionary than mere reform, and cited systematic flaws of “racism, poverty, militarism and materialism”.The Campaign proved controversial even within the civil rights movement. On March 29, 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of the black sanitary public works employees, represented by AFSCME Local 1733, who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. On April 3, King also addressed a rally and delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address at Mason Temple, the world headquarters of the Church of God in Christ.

Sadly King was shot in the chest on April 4 1968 while staying at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis by James Earl Ray. Despite emergency chest surgery, King was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 p.m. The assassination led to a nationwide wave of race riots in Washington D.C., Chicago, Baltimore, Louisville, Kansas City, and dozens of other cities. Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was on his way to Indianapolis for a campaign rally when he was informed of King’s death And President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning for the civil rights leader. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey attended King’s funeral. Two months after King’s death, escaped convict James Earl Ray was captured at London Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom on a false Canadian passport in the name of Ramon George Sneyd on his way to white-ruled Rhodesia. He was extradited to Tennessee and charged with King’s murder. He confessed to the assassination on March 10, 1969, though he recanted this confession three days later. On the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman, and was sentenced to a 99-year prison term. However Ray’s lawyers maintained he was a scapegoat similar to the way that John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is seen by conspiracy theorists.

Soon after King’s assassination, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was seen as a tribute to King’s struggle in his final years to combat racial discrimination in the U.S. Internationally, King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004 and received the Nobel Peace Prize. King’s legacy influenced the Black Consciousness Movement and Civil Rights Movement in South Africa. King’s work served as an inspiration for South African leader Albert Lutuli, another black Nobel Peace prize winner who fought for racial justice in his country. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, followed in her husband’s footsteps and was active in matters of social justice and civil rights until her death in 2006. The same year that Martin Luther King was assassinated, she established the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, dedicated to preserving his legacy and the work of championing nonviolent conflict resolution and tolerance worldwide. Their son, Dexter King, currently serves as the center’s chairman. Daughter Yolanda King, who died in 2007, was a motivational speaker, author and founder of Higher Ground Productions, an organization specializing in diversity training.