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PEOPLE IN AMERICA - Martin Luther King Jr., Part 1

时间:2005-09-29 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:wbnewbie   字体: [ ]

PEOPLE IN AMERICA -January 20, 2002: Martin Luther King Jr., Part 1

By William Rodgers


People in America - a program in Special English on the Voice of America.


Today, Warren Scheer and Shep O'Neal begin the story of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior.



It all started on a bus. A black woman was returning home from work after a long, hard day. She sat near the
front of the bus because she was tired and her legs hurt. But the bus belonged to the city of Montgomery in the
southern state of Alabama. And the year was nineteen fifty-five.

In those days, black people could sit only in the back of the bus. So the driver
ordered the woman to give up her seat. But the woman refused, and she was

Incidents like this had happened before. But no one had ever spoken out against
such treatment of blacks. This time, however, a young black preacher organized a
protest3. He called on all black citizens to stop riding the buses in Montgomery until
the laws were changed.

The name of the young preacher was Martin Luther King. He led the protest movement to end injustice4 in the
Montgomery city bus system. The protest became known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott5. The protest marked
the beginning of the civil rights movement in the United States.

This is the story of Martin Luther King, and his part in the early days of the civil rights movement.


Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in nineteen-twenty-nine. He was born into a religious family.
Martin's father was a preacher at a Baptist church. And his mother came from a family with strong ties to the
Baptist religion.

In nineteen twenty-nine, atlanta was one of the wealthiest cities in the southern part of
the United States. Many black families came to the city in search of a better life. There
was less racial tension6 between blacks and whites in Atlanta than in other southern
cities. But Atlanta still had laws designed to keep black people separate from whites.

The laws of racial separation existed all over the southern part of the United States.
They forced blacks to attend separate schools and live in separate areas of a city. Blacks
did not have the same rights as white people, and were often poorer and less educated.


Martin Luther King did not know about racial separation when he was young. But as he grew older, he soon saw
that blacks were not treated equally.

One day martin and his father went out to buy shoes. They entered a shoe store owned by a white businessman.

Rosa Parks

The businessman sold shoes to all people. But he had a rule that blacks could not buy shoes in the front part of
the store. He ordered martin's father to obey the rule. Martin never forgot his father's angry answer:

"If you do not sell shoes to black people at the front of the store, you will not sell shoes to us at all."

Such incidents, however, were rare during martin's early life. Instead, he led the life of a normal boy. Martin
liked to learn, and he passed through school very quickly. He was only fifteen when he was ready to enter the
university. The university, called Morehouse College, was in Atlanta. Morehouse College was one of the few
universities in the South where black students could study.


It was at the university that Martin decided7 to become a preacher. At the same time, he also discovered he had a
gift for public speaking.

He soon was able to test his gifts. One Sunday, Martin's father asked him to preach2 at his church. When Martin
arrived, the church members were surprised to see such a young man getting ready to speak to them. But they
were more surprised to find themselves deeply moved by the words of young Martin Luther King.

A church member once described him: "The boy seemed much older than his years. He understood life and its


Martin seemed wise to others because of his studies at the university. He carefully read the works8 of Mahatma
Gandhi, the Indian leader and thinker. Martin also studied the books of the American philosopher9 Henry David
Thoreau. Both men wrote about ways to fight injustice. Gandhi had led his people to freedom by peacefully
refusing to obey unjust10 laws. He taught his followers11 never to use violence. Thoreau also urged people to disobey
laws that were not just, and to be willing to go to prison for their beliefs.

As he studied, Martin thought he had found the answer for his people. The ideas of Gandhi and Thoreau -- nonviolence
and civil disobedience could be used together to win equal rights for black Americans. Martin knew,
then, that his decision to become a preacher was right. He believed that as a preacher he could spread the ideas of
Gandhi and Thoreau. Years later he said:

"My university studies gave me the basic truths I now believe. I discovered the idea of
humanity's oneness and the dignity and value of all human character."

Martin continued his studies in religion for almost ten years. When he was twenty-two,
he moved north to study in Boston.

It was in Boston that martin met Coretta Scott, the woman who later became his wife.

Martin always had been very popular with the girls in his hometown. His brother once
said that Martin "never had one girlfriend for more than a year.
But Martin felt Coretta Scott was different. The first time he saw her Martin said: "You

have everything I have ever wanted in a wife.

(1964 photo - Herman
Coretta was surprised at his words. But she felt that Martin was serious and honest. A short time later, they were
married. Martin soon finished his studies in Boston, and received a doctorate12 degree in religion. The young
preacher then was offered a job at a church in Montgomery, Alabama.


Martin Luther King and his wife were happy in Montgomery. Their first child was born. Martin's work at the
church was going well. He became involved in a number of activities to help the poor. And the members of his
church spoke1 highly13 of their new preacher. Coretta remembered their life as simple and without worries.

Then, a black woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested for sitting in the white part of a montgomery city bus. And
Martin Luther King organized a protest against the Montgomery bus system.

Martin believed it was very important for the bus boycott to succeed -- more important even than his own life.
But he worried about his ability to lead such an important campaign. He was only twenty -six years old. He
prayed to God for help and believed that God answered his prayers.


Martin knew that his actions and his speeches would be important for the civil rights movement. But he was
faced with a serious problem. He asked: "How can I make my people militant14 enough to win our goals, while
keeping peace within the movement."

The answer came to him from the teachings15 of gandhi and thoreau. In his first speech as a leader, Martin said:

"We must seek to show we are right through peaceful, not violent means. Love must be the ideal16 guiding our
actions. If we protest bravely, and yet with pride and Christian17 love, then future historians18 will say: "There lived a
great people, a black people, who gave new hope to civilization."

With these words, a new movement was born. It was non-violent and peaceful. But victory was far from sure, and
many difficult days of struggle lay ahead.



You have been listening to the VOA Special English program, People in America. Your narrators were Warren
Scheer and Shep O'Neal. Our program was written by William Rodgers. Listen again next week at this time,
when we will complete the story of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior.

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1 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
2 preach F1jzf     
vi.传道,宣扬;vt. 讲道,说教
  • Don't preach me a sermon,please.请不要对我讲大道理。
  • They continue to preach their gospel of self-reliance.他们继续倡导自立的信条。
3 protest rRRxF     
  • I can't pass the matter by without a protest.我不能对此事视而不见,我要提出抗议。
  • We translated his silence as a protest.我们把他的沉默解释为抗议。
4 injustice O45yL     
  • They complained of injustice in the way they had been treated.他们抱怨受到不公平的对待。
  • All his life he has been struggling against injustice.他一生都在与不公正现象作斗争。
5 boycott EW3zC     
  • We put the production under a boycott.我们联合抵制该商品。
  • The boycott lasts a year until the Victoria board permitsreturn.这个抗争持续了一年直到维多利亚教育局妥协为止。
6 tension zpUw6     
  • I could feel the tension in the room. 我可以感觉到房间里的紧张气氛。
  • Relaxaion is better than tension. 缓和比紧张好。
7 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
8 works ieuzIh     
  • We expect writers to produce more and better works.我们期望作家们写出更多更好的作品。
  • The novel is regarded as one of the classic works.这篇小说被公认为是最优秀的作品之一。
9 philosopher vN4xi     
  • The philosopher has his ideas built on the rock of reason.那位哲学家把思想稳固地建立于理性之上。
  • What a philosopher seeks after is truth.一个哲学家所追求的是真理。
10 unjust MkYwW     
  • The unjust peace agreement set the scene for another war.这项不公平的和约为另一场战争埋下了祸根。
  • It was unjust of them not to hear my side.他们不听我这方面的意见,这不公正。
11 followers 5c342ee9ce1bf07932a1f66af2be7652     
追随者( follower的名词复数 ); 用户; 契据的附面; 从动件
  • the followers of Mahatma Gandhi 圣雄甘地的拥护者
  • The reformer soon gathered a band of followers round him. 改革者很快就获得一群追随者支持他。
12 doctorate fkEzt     
  • He hasn't enough credits to get his doctorate.他的学分不够取得博士学位。
  • Where did she do her doctorate?她在哪里攻读博士?
13 highly XdFxR     
  • It is highly important to provide for the future.预先做好准备非常重要。
  • The teacher speaks very highly of the boy's behaviour.老师称赞这个男孩的表现。
14 militant 8DZxh     
  • Some militant leaders want to merge with white radicals.一些好斗的领导人要和白人中的激进派联合。
  • He is a militant in the movement.他在那次运动中是个激进人物。
15 teachings igaziO     
n.教学( teaching的名词复数 );教学工作;教诲;学说
  • We must never be unworthy of our teachers' untiring and sincere teachings. 我们决不要辜负老师的谆谆教导。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • The Party's teachings were ringing in her ears. 党的教导在她耳边回响。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
16 ideal 2bRxF     
  • The weather at the seaside was ideal—bright and breezy.海边的天气最宜人,风和日丽的。
  • They promised to be faithful to their ideal for ever. 他们保证永远忠于自己的理想。
17 Christian KVByl     
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
18 historians aa2dff49e1cda6eb8322970793b20183     
n.历史学家,史学工作者( historian的名词复数 )
  • Historians seem to have confused the chronology of these events. 历史学家好像把这些事件发生的年代顺序搞混了。
  • Historians have concurred with each other in this view. 历史学家在这个观点上已取得一致意见。
TAG标签:   America  Martin Luther King
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