Martin Luther King, symbole de la lutte contre la ségrégation raciale

Par le 22 janvier 2019

Martin Luther King a été assassiné le 4 avril 1968 à seulement 39 ans. Ce mardi 15 janvier 2019, il aurait eu 90 ans.

« Comme tout le monde, je voudrais vivre une longue vie. La longévité a son importance. Mais pour moi maintenant, cela n’a plus d’importance. Je veux juste respecter la volonté de Dieu. »

Un demi-siècle plus tard, Martin Luther King demeure le visage de la lutte pour les droits civiques des Afro-Américains. Et pour cause, ce dernier a passé sa vie à agir pour l’égalité politique et économique de façon non violente.

Une enfance marquée par la ségrégation

Il nait en 1929 à Atlanta, en Géorgie, d’un père révérend, et d’une mère très impliquée dans la paroisse.

Dès son plus jeune âge, il est victime de la ségrégation. En effet, à l’âge de 6 ans, deux enfants blancs lui annoncent qu’ils n’ont plus le droit de jouer avec lui.

Martin Luther King, enfant

Son héritage culturel et son éducation familiale lui permirent d’être ordonné paster baptiste et de décrocher son diplôme de sociologie à 19ans. Ainsi, il continue ses études à Boston, où il y rencontre Colette Scott, qui deviendra sa femme en 1953.

Pasteur engagé et pacifique

C’est en 1955 que son combat commence, en boycottant le réseau de transport en commun en soutien à Rosa Parks, « Nous allons continuer à manifester dans le même esprit d’amour et de non-violence ».
Il est inspiré de sa foi chrétienne, et de l’enseignement de Mahatma Gandhi.

Rosa Parks

Au travers de ses combats et son engagement, Martin Luther King incarne le visage de cette lutte non-violente pour les droits civiques, allant jusqu’à mettre sa vie en danger. Il est en effet harcelé, voir menacé de mort.

Le rêve d’un homme

En août 1963, à 34ans, il est à la tête de la Marche sur Washington pour l’emploi et la liberté, qu’il décrit comme étant « la plus grande manifestation de liberté dans l’histoire des Etats-Unis ».

C’est là, que face à 250 000 personnes, il prononce son discours, devenu historique « I have a dream » (Je rêve). « Je rêve que mes quatre jeunes enfants vivront un jour dans une nation où ils ne seront pas jugés sur la couleur de leur peau mais sur la valeur de leur caractère. Je fais aujourd’hui un rêve ! ».

En 1964, il reçoit le prix Nobel de la Paix pour son combat pacifique, ce qui fait de lui, à 35 ans, le plus jeune lauréat de cet honneur.

Après sa mort, Martin Luther King reste la figure emblématique d’une longue lutte pour les droits civique.

La lutte est loin d’être finie

C’est désormais sa petite fille de 9 ans, Yolanda Renée King, qui reprend son combat, notamment durant la « Marche pour nos vies » à Washington le 24 mars 2018.

Lors de sa prise de parole, elle fait référence à son grand-père : « Je fais un rêve dans lequel trop, c’est trop. Et ce monde devrait être débarrassé de toutes les armes. Point. » 

 

 

 

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