The Multi-Dimensional , Multi-Symbolic Example of Leadership and Courage
BY SARAH M . BILLUPS , MSW , LCSW , ACSW
Pictured : Author Sarah M . Billups
The name , Dr . Martin Luther King , Jr , is usually met with a smile and a congenial nod of the head with approval . This name symbolizes many things for many people . This lone man , born in Atlanta , Georgia , with family roots right here in Henry County at the historic Floyd Chapel Baptist Church in Stockbridge , had a lasting impression on the people . He was one of the people ; he understood the real world of Black America .
It was never his plan to become a Civil Rights icon . He was a family man , Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church , when history came knocking at his door . He weighed the reasons presented to him by a small delegation of community leaders , and decided to join in the fight , the rest is history . Due to his concept of non-violence , he was able to work with the multitude of unknown marchers , who put their lives on the line to fight for basic civil rights . They marched for the right to hold good jobs at a fair and equitable wage ; they marched for the right to live in decent housing , and to not be discriminated against due to the color of their skin ; they marched for the right to a decent educational system which would treat all of the students in a fair and just way ; they fought for the right to walk down the street as free and equal citizens , and not be treated in a subservient manner ; they fought for the right to sit down and eat a meal in any restaurant , especially ones where they spent their money in the retail part of the chain ; they marched for the right to VOTE in any and all elections without fear of reprisals . They fought for the right to live as decent human beings without the insufferable shadow of segregationists and Jim Crow hanging over their heads .
Dr . King was front and center in this fight for civil rights . He was reviled by certain segments of America , who hated his voice for freedom in America , which he used most effectively . They were met while marching , by rage filled whites snarling racial epithets , hurling threats of physical violence ,