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Nobel PEACE Prize Winners 


노벨 평화상 수상자

King, Martin Luther, Jr.

 

King, Martin Luther, Jr.

(b. Jan. 15, 1929, Atlanta, Ga., U.S.--d. April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tenn.), eloquent black Baptist minister, who led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His leadership was fundamental to that movement's success in ending the legal segregation of blacks in the South and other portions of the United States. King rose to national prominence through the organization of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference , promoting nonviolent tactics such as the massive March on Washington (1963) to achieve civil rights. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964. The U.S. Congress voted to observe a national holiday in his honour, beginning in 1986, on the third Monday in January. (see also Index: race relations)

 

Early years.

 

King came from a family steeped in the tradition of the Southern black ministry: both his father and maternal grandfather were Baptist preachers. At the age of 15 he entered Morehouse College, Atlanta, under a special program for gifted students, receiving his B.A. in 1948. As an undergraduate his earlier interests in medicine and law were eclipsed by a decision in his senior year to enter the ministry, as his father had urged. Spending the next three years at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa. (bachelor of divinity, 1951), King first became acquainted with Mohandas Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence as well as with the thought of contemporary Protestant theologians. He was elected president of the student body and was graduated with the highest academic average in his class. From Crozer he went to Boston University (Ph.D., 1955), where, in seeking a firm foundation for his own theological and ethical inclinations, he began to focus his attention on conceptions of the relationship of man to God. In his doctoral dissertation, "A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman," his conclusions were fairly Niebuhrian. King himself conceived of God as an active, personal entity; man's salvation was to be found neither in the quest for social progress nor in the unaided power of reason; faith in God's guidance was the essential thing.

 

The Montgomery bus boycott.

While in Boston, King met Coretta Scott , a native Alabamian who was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. They were married in 1953 and had four children. King had been pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., slightly more than a year when the city's small group of civil-rights advocates decided to contest racial segregation on that city's public bus system. On Dec. 1, 1955, a black woman named Rosa Parks had refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger and as a consequence had been arrested for violating the city's segregation law. Black activists formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to boycott the transit system and chose King as their leader. He had the advantage of being a young, well-trained man who was too new in town to have made enemies; he was generally respected, and his family connections and professional standing would enable him to find another pastorate should the boycott fail. (see also Index: Parks, Rosa)

In his first speech to the group as its president, King declared:

 

We have no alternative but to protest. For many years we have shown an amazing patience. We have sometimes given our white brothers the feeling that we liked the way we were being treated. But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.

These words introduced to the nation a fresh voice, a skillful rhetoric, an inspiring personality, and in time a dynamic new doctrine of civil struggle. Although King's home was dynamited and his family's safety threatened, he continued to lead the boycott until, one year and a few weeks later, the blacks of Montgomery achieved their goal of desegregation of the city's buses.

 

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Recognizing the need for a mass movement to capitalize on the successful Montgomery action, King set about organizing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which gave him a base of operation throughout the South, as well as a national platform from which to speak. King lectured in all parts of the country and discussed problems of blacks with civil-rights and religious leaders at home and abroad. In February 1959 he and his party were warmly received by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru; as the result of a brief discussion with followers of Gandhi about the Gandhian concepts of satyagraha ("devotion to truth"), King became more convinced than ever that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.

In 1960 he moved to his native city of Atlanta, where he became copastor with his father of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. At this post he devoted most of his time to the SCLC and the civil-rights movement, declaring that the "psychological moment has come when a concentrated drive against injustice can bring great, tangible gains." His thesis was soon tested as he agreed to support the sit-in demonstrations undertaken by local black college students. In late October he was arrested with 33 young people protesting segregation at the lunch counter in an Atlanta department store. Charges were dropped, but King was sentenced to Reidsville State Prison Farm on the pretext that he had violated his probation on a minor traffic offense committed several months earlier. The case assumed national proportions, with widespread concern over his safety, outrage at Georgia's flouting of legal forms, and the failure of President Dwight Eisenhower to intervene. King was released only upon the intercession of Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy--an action so widely publicized in the black community throughout the nation that it was felt to have contributed substantially to Kennedy's slender election victory eight days later.

In the years from 1960 to 1965 King's influence reached its zenith. The tactics of active nonviolence (sit-ins, protest marches) aroused the devoted allegiance of many blacks and liberal whites in all parts of the country, as well as support from the administrations of presidents Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. There were also notable failures, as at Albany, Ga. (1961-62), when King and his colleagues failed to achieve their desegregation goals for public parks and other facilities.

 

The letter from the Birmingham jail.

In Birmingham, Ala., in the spring of 1963, King's campaign to end segregation at lunch counters and in hiring practices drew nationwide attention when police turned dogs and fire hoses on the demonstrators. King was jailed along with large numbers of his supporters, including hundreds of schoolchildren. His supporters did not, however, include all the black clergy of Birmingham, and he was strongly opposed by some of the white clergy who had issued a statement urging the blacks not to support the demonstrations. From the Birmingham jail King wrote a letter of great eloquence in which he spelled out his philosophy of nonviolence:

 

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. . . . We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Near the end of the Birmingham campaign, in an effort to draw together the multiple forces for peaceful change and to dramatize to the nation and to the world the importance of solving the U.S. racial problem, King joined other civil-rights leaders in organizing the historic March on Washington. On Aug. 28, 1963, an interracial assembly of more than 200,000 gathered peaceably in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial to demand equal justice for all citizens under the law. Here the crowds were uplifted by the emotional strength and prophetic quality of King's famous "I have a dream" speech, in which, using biblical phraseology, King emphasized his faith that all men, someday, would be brothers.

The rising tide of civil-rights agitation produced, as King had hoped, a strong effect on national opinion and resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, authorizing the federal government to enforce desegregation of public accommodations and outlawing discrimination in publicly owned facilities, as well as in employment. That eventful year was climaxed by the award to King of the Nobel Prize for Peace at Oslo in December. (see also Index: Civil Rights Act)

 

Challenges of the final years.

The first signs of opposition to King's tactics from within the civil-rights movement surfaced during the March 1965 demonstrations at Selma, Ala., which were aimed at dramatizing the need for a federal voting-rights law that would provide legal support for the enfranchisement of blacks in the South. King organized an initial march from Selma to the state capitol building in Montgomery but did not lead it himself; the marchers were turned back by state troopers with nightsticks and tear gas. He determined to lead a second march, despite an injunction by a federal court and efforts from Washington to persuade him to cancel it. Heading a procession of 1,500 marchers, black and white, he set out across Pettus Bridge outside Selma until the group came to a barricade of state troopers. But, instead of going on and forcing a confrontation, he led his followers in kneeling in prayer and then unexpectedly turned back. This decision cost King the support of many young radicals who were already faulting him for being too cautious. The suspicion of an "arrangement" with federal and local authorities--vigorously but not entirely convincingly denied--clung to the Selma affair. The country was nevertheless aroused, resulting in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Throughout the nation, impatience with the lack of greater substantive progress encouraged the growth of black militancy. Especially in the slums of the large Northern cities, King's religious philosophy of nonviolence was increasingly questioned. The rioting in the Watts district of Los Angeles (August 1965) demonstrated the depth of the urban race problem. In an effort to meet the challenge of the ghetto, King and his forces initiated a drive against racial discrimination in Chicago at the beginning of the following year. The chief target was to be segregation in housing. After a spring and summer of rallies, marches, and demonstrations, an agreement was signed between the city and a coalition of blacks, liberals, and labour organizations, calling for various measures to strengthen the enforcement of existing laws and regulations with respect to housing. But this agreement was to have little effect; the impression remained that King's Chicago campaign was nullified partly because of the opposition of that city's powerful mayor, Richard J. Daley, and partly because of the unexpected complexities of Northern racism.

In Illinois and Mississippi alike, King was now being challenged and even publicly derided by young black power enthusiasts. In the face of mounting criticism, King's response was to broaden his approach to include concerns other than racism that were equally detrimental to his people's progress. On April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City and again on the 15th at a mammoth peace rally in that city, he committed himself irrevocably to opposing the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War. Once before, in early January 1966, he had condemned the war, but official outrage from Washington and strenuous opposition within the black community itself had caused him to relent. He next sought to widen his base by forming a coalition of the poor of all races that would address itself to such economic problems as poverty and unemployment. It was a species of populism, seeking to enroll janitors, hospital workers, seasonal labourers, and the destitute of Appalachia, along with the student militants and pacifist intellectuals. His endeavours along these lines, however, did not engender much support in any segment of the population.

His plans for a Poor People's March to Washington were interrupted in the spring of 1968 by a trip to Memphis, Tenn., in support of a strike by that city's sanitation workers. On April 4 he was killed by a sniper's bullet while standing on the balcony of the motel where he and his associates were staying. On March 10, 1969, the accused white assassin, James Earl Ray, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

 

Assessment.

The contribution of Martin Luther King to the black freedom movement was that of a leader who was able to turn protests into a crusade, to translate local conflicts into moral issues of nationwide concern. Successful in awakening the black masses and galvanizing them into action, he won his greatest victories by appealing to the consciences of white Americans and thus bringing political leverage to bear on the federal government in Washington. The strategy that broke the segregation laws of the South, however, proved inadequate to solve more complex racial problems elsewhere. King was only 39 at the time of his death--a leader in midpassage who never wavered in his insistence that nonviolence must remain the essential tactic of the movement nor in his faith that all Americans would some day attain racial and economic justice. King wrote a number of books. The most important for an understanding of his career are: Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958), Why We Can't Wait (1964), and Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967).

 

킹 (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

1929. 1. 15 미국 조지아 애틀랜타~1968. 4. 4 테네시 멤피스.

미국의 흑인 침례교 목사.

1950년대 중반부터 암살당할 때까지 미국의 민권운동을 이끌었다. 그는 1963년 워싱턴에서 있었던 대규모 평화행진과 같은 흑인들의 비폭력적인 투쟁을 주도하기 위해 남부 그리스도교 지도자회의(Southern Christian Leadership Conference/SCLC)를 조직하면서 전국적으로 유명해졌다. 1964년 노벨 평화상을 수상했다. 1986년 미국 의회는 그를 기리기 위하여 1월 셋째 주 월요일을 국경일로 지정했다.

초기생애

킹은 남부 흑인 목회자 전통에 깊이 뿌리박고 있던 가정에서 태어났다. 그의 아버지와 외할아버지는 모두 침례교 전도사였다. 15세 때 애틀랜타 모어하우스대학에 입학했으며, 1948년 문학사학위를 받았다. 학부재학시절 의학과 법학에 관심을 가졌으나 아버지가 원하는 대로 신학교에 들어갔다. 그후 2년 동안 펜실베이니아 체스터에 있는 크로저 신학교(1951 신학사학위)를 다니면서 처음으로 모한다스 간디의 비폭력철학과 현대 프로테스탄트 신학자들의 사상을 접하게 되었다. 신학교를 수석으로 졸업한 후 자신의 신학적·윤리적 견해에 대한 확고한 바탕을 마련하기 위해 보스턴대학교(1955 신학박사학위)로 갔다. 박사학위 논문인 〈파울 틸리히와 헨리 넬슨 위먼의 사상에서 나타나는 신의 개념에 대한 비교 A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman〉에서 킹은 신을 적극적이고 인격적인 실재로 보았으며, 인간의 구원은 신이 인도할 것이라는 믿음에 의해서만 가능하다고 주장했다.

보스턴에 거주하는 동안 킹은 뉴잉글랜드 음악학교에서 공부하고 있던 앨라배마 출신의 코레타 스콧을 만났다. 이들은 1953년 결혼하여 4명의 자녀를 두었다. 킹은 앨라배마 주 몽고메리의 덱스터가(街) 침례교회의 목사를 지냈다. 목사직을 맡고나서 1년 남짓 된 후 앨라배마 주에서는 소규모 민권옹호 단체가 공중 버스 안의 인종차별에 대해 항의하는 사건이 일어났다. 1955년 12월 1일에는 로자 파크스라는 사람이 백인 승객에게 좌석을 양보할 것을 거부하자 시의 인종분리법을 위반했다는 이유로 체포되었다. 흑인 행동주의자들은 교통수단 이용을 보이콧하기 위한 몽고메리 개선협회를 결성하고 젊은 지식인으로서 그 도시에 온 지 얼마되지 않았기 때문에 적이 없었던 킹을 이 운동의 지도자로 선출했다. 이 운동이 시작된 지 1년이 조금 지난 후 몽고메리 시의 흑인들은 공중 버스에서의 인종차별대우 철폐의 목적을 달성했다.

남부 그리스도교 지도자회의

몽고메리 시의 경험을 계기로 대중운동의 필요성을 깨달은 킹은 SCLC를 결성하려는 작업에 착수했다. 이 조직은 남부지역의 활동기반이 되었을 뿐만 아니라 전국적인 강연활동의 토대가 되었다. 킹은 전국 곳곳에서 강연했으며, 국내외 인권운동 및 종교지도자들과 흑인 문제에 관해 논의하는 한편 가나와 인도를 방문하여 국가원수와 협의를 하기도 했다. 1959년 2월 킹과 그가 이끈 단체는 인도 총리 자와할랄 네루를 만나 환대를 받았다. 간디의 후계자인 네루와 만나면서 간디 사상의 핵심인 사티아그라하('진실에 대한 헌신')에 대해 알게 된 후, 킹은 비폭력 저항이 자유를 쟁취하기 위해 피압박 민중이 동원할 수 있는 가장 강력한 무기임을 확신하게 되었다.

1960년 고향인 애틀랜타로 가서 아버지와 함께 에비니저 침례교회의 공동 주임목사가 되었고, '불의에 대항하는 응축된 추진력이 위대하고 가시적인 성과를 가져올 때 정신적인 계기가 올 것'이라고 주장하면서 대부분의 시간을 SCLC와 인권운동에 헌신했다. 킹의 주장은 애틀랜타 지역 대학생들의 연좌시위에 그가 동조함에 따라 시험대에 오르게 되었다. 같은 해 10월말 그는 애틀랜타 백화점 식당에서 백인과 따로 식사해야 하는 것에 항의하던 33명의 흑인 젊은이들과 함께 체포되었다. 기소는 기각되었으나 킹은 몇 개월 전 범한 사소한 교통위반에 관한 집행유예를 어겼다는 구실로 리즈빌 주립교도소 농장에서 복역해야 했다. 그가 무죄라는 주장이 큰 호응을 얻어 이 사건이 전국적인 쟁점이 되면서 조지아 주 정부가 법적 절차를 조롱한 점과 드와이트 아이젠하워 대통령의 중재 실패에 대해서 비난 여론이 일어났다. 킹은 민주당 대통령 후보인 J. F. 케네디의 개입으로 석방되었다. 이 일은 전국 곳곳의 흑인 사회에 널리 알려져 8일 후의 선거에서 케네디가 승리하는 데 상당한 역할을 했다. 1960~65년 킹의 영향력은 절정에 달했다. 행동적 비폭력 전술(연좌시위·항의행진)은 케네디와 L. B. 존슨 대통령의 행정부만이 아니라 전국의 흑인들과 자유주의적 성향을 가진 백인들의 열렬한 지지를 받았다. 그러나 1961~ 62년 조지아 주 올버니에서 킹과 그의 동료들이 공원과 그밖의 공공시설물에서 벌인 인종차별철폐운동은 실패했다.

버밍햄 운동

1963년 봄 앨라배마 주 버밍햄에서 킹이 주도하던 간이식당과 고용관행에서의 인종차별대우 반대 운동은 경찰이 시위대에 경찰견을 풀고 소화 호스로 물을 뿌려 전국적인 관심을 불러일으켰다. 킹은 수백 명의 학생들을 포함한 수많은 지지자들과 함께 수감되었다. 그러나 그를 제외한 버밍햄의 흑인 성직자들은 아무도 이 운동에 가담하지 않았다. 뿐만 아니라 흑인들이 이 운동을 지지하지 말 것을 주장하는 일부 백인 성직자들의 강력한 저항에 부딪혔다. 버밍햄 운동이 막바지에 이르자, 평화적 개혁을 위해 다양한 세력을 결집시켰고, 세계 각국에 미국 내 인종문제의 심각성을 극적으로 보여주기 위해 킹은 다른 인권운동 지도자들과 함께 1963년 8월 28일 워싱턴D. C.에서 역사적인 평화행진을 주도했다. 이날 20만 명 이상의 사람들이 링컨 기념일을 기린다는 명목으로 평화집회를 갖고, 법 앞에서 모든 시민들이 평등할 것을 요구했다. 군중들 사이의 감정적인 공감과 더불어 성서적 표현을 빌려 행한 '나에게는 꿈이 있습니다'라는 제목의 연설에서 보인 그의 예언자적 면모에 크게 감화되어 집회 분위기는 한껏 고조되었다. 인종을 초월하여 모든 사람들이 언젠가는 형제가 될 것이라는 신념, 철학자적 선견, 그리스도교도로서의 신앙, 남부 침례교 전도사로서의 화려한 수사가 어우러져 그의 연설은 세계 각지의 추종자들을 고무시켰다. 킹의 희망대로 인권운동의 물결이 여론에 강한 영향을 미치면서 1964년 공공장소에서의 인종차별대우 철폐와 고용 및 공공소유 시설물에서의 불법적 인종차별을 금하는 민권법이 통과되어 연방정부 관할 아래 이에 따른 시행이 이루어지게 되었다. 그해 12월에 오슬로에서 노벨 평화상을 수상함으로써 그의 업적은 절정에 달했다.

후기의 시련

인권운동 내부에서 킹의 전술에 반대하는 최초의 징조는 연방 선거권을 획득하기 위해 1965년 3월 앨라배마 주 셀마에서 벌인 시위 도중에 드러났다. 셀마에서 주청사 소재지인 몽고메리까지의 행진으로 계획되었으나 경찰봉과 최루 가스를 사용한 주 경찰에 의해 해산당했다. 이 시위가 저지당하자 킹은 연방법원의 시위금지명령과 행진을 취소하도록 종용하는 연방정부의 설득에도 불구하고 자신이 주도하는 2차행진을 결행했다. 흑인과 백인으로 이루어진 1,500명의 시위대 선두에 서서 셀마 외곽의 페터스 다리를 건너 주 경찰의 바리케이드 선까지 행진했다. 그러나 그는 따르던 사람들을 무릎꿇고 기도하게 하고 애초의 계획과는 다르게 시위대를 해산해버렸다. 이 결정으로 전부터 그가 너무 조심스럽다고 비난하던 젊은 과격주의자들이 그의 곁을 떠났다.

어디에서도 실질적인 발전이 없음에 조바심을 느낀 흑인들은 점점 호전적으로 변했다. 특히 북부 대도시의 슬럼가를 중심으로 킹의 종교적인 비폭력 철학은 점차 의문시되기 시작했다. 일리노이 주와 미시시피 주에서도 킹의 명성은 심각한 도전을 받게 되었으며, 젊은 흑인 폭력주의자들로부터는 조롱까지 받는 상황이 되었다. 그러나 킹은 자신에게 불만을 품는 흑인들에게 깊은 동정을 느꼈다. 그에 대한 비난이 점차 커질 즈음 킹은 인종주의와는 다르지만 민중들의 진보에 방해가 되는 또다른 분야에 관심을 갖게 되었다. 1967년 4월 4일 뉴욕 시 리버사이드 교회 집회와 15일의 대규모 평화집회를 시작으로 베트남 전쟁 반대에 몰두하게 된 것이 그것이다. 1968년 봄 빈민들과 함께 워싱턴 D. C.까지 행진하려던 그의 계획은 테네시 주 멤피스 시 청소부들의 파업에 동조하기 위해 그곳으로 가면서 무산되었다. 그는 같은 해 4월 4일 동료들과 함께 묵고 있던 모텔의 발코니에서 저격범에 의해 암살되었다. 1969년 3월 10일 기소된 백인 암살자 제임스 얼 레이는 살인죄로 99년 감옥형을 선고받았다.

평가

흑인자유운동에 대한 마틴 루터 킹의 공헌은 단순한 항의운동을 강력한 개혁운동으로, 지역적 분쟁을 전국적 범위의 도덕적 쟁점으로 발전시켰다는 데 있다. 흑인 대중을 일깨우고 그들이 행동하게 하는 데 성공한 그는 또다시 백인들의 양심에 호소하여 연방정부에 정치적 압력을 가하게 만드는 등의 성과를 올렸다. 그러나 남부의 인종차별법을 철폐시켰던 그의 전술은 다른 지역의 복잡한 인종문제를 해결하는 데는 역부족이었다.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.

King's letters, speeches, sermons, and other documents are collected in Clayborne Carson et al. (eds.), The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1992- ). James Melvin Washington (ed.), A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1986, reissued 1991), is an anthology.

Biographies include David Levering Lewis, King, 2nd ed. (1978); Stephen B. Oates, Let the Trumpet Sound (1982, reprinted 1994); Frederick L. Downing, To See the Promised Land (1986), a psychohistorical study; Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters (1988), focusing on King in the history of the American civil-rights movement, 1954-63; and David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross (1986).

Studies of his intellectual influences and sources are John J. Ansbro, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1982); Peter J. Albert and Ronald Hoffman (eds.), We Shall Overcome (1990); Lewis V. Baldwin, There Is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1991); Keith D. Miller, Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Its Sources (1992); and James H. Cone, Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare (1991). (D.L.Le.)

   



 
 
 

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