person I admire is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Before
I came to America, I did not know who he was. But
now I know. I know his powerful words; his speeches;
I know about his marches. I almost know his whole
life, from his early childhood to his tragic death
about Dr. Kings life has given me a new perspective
about the world. In my hometown of Belfast, we had
soldiers on our streets for many years. Our own civil
rights movement ended in 1972, when soldiers killed
14 marchers on a day that became known as Bloody Sunday.
There is still fighting between Catholics and Protestants
because of political beliefs and inequality. We go
to separate schools and live in separate neighbourhoods.
Just like in Little Rock, bricks and bombs were thrown
at Catholic children when they tried to walk to school
through a Protestant street. I wish those things could
change. In my whole life I have only met one Protestant,
in a city that is half Protestant.
Martin was a boy, he had some white friends. One day,
he and his little brother knocked on their friends
door like they had done a thousand times before. This
time, it was different. Their mother answered, You
cant play with my kids anymore, because were
white and youre colored. Martin ran home
crying. It was that day he found out what the world
was really like. His friends moved away, and were
never heard from again.
he was a teenager, Martin and his teacher took the
bus home. The driver said, Get up! White people
need your seats! No, replied Martin.
His teacher looked into the furious eyes of the bus-driver.
Frightened, she got off the bus with Martin. Now he
knew who he was going to be: a drum-major for
justice and equality. At 17, Martin decided
to become a minister like his father.
1960, Martin went to hear a talk about Mahatma Ghandi.
Martin was inspired by Ghandis role in freeing
India from the British by peaceful means. Three years
later, he gave his famous I Have a Dream
speech at the March on Washington. Millions of people
from all over the US, of all different races, attended
had passed. There had been many marches, speeches,
and sit-ins. Segregation was still there. What more
could Martin do? He had been in jail over 200 times
now. He had seen the crying faces of children in the
other cells. Children of all ages went to jail for
marching against segregation. He was delighted when
he won the Nobel Peace Prize, but he couldnt
be truly happy unless all Americans had equal rights.
was the happiest man in the world when finally, with
a lot of hard work and effort, the Dream had come
true. Still, he felt that more could be done. He campaigned
for poor workers, both black and white. Martin led
a Memphis garbage workers strike in 1968, but
it became violent. Some people blamed Martin for everything,
so he promised them there would be a peaceful march
on April 5th.
never had a chance to keep his promise. On April 4th,
he was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine
Motel. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. died in Memphis
Hospital, leaving his wife and children.
will go back to Ireland this summer having made many
new friends: Black, White, Latino and Asian. This
would not have been possible without Martin. I hope
that some day Catholics and Protestants in the north
of Ireland can live like Martin showed black and white
people to. If he were here today, I would like to
say, Thank you for turning America upside down.
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