Martin Luther King of Georgia (1929-1968)

Artist: 
Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

Artist's Narrative:
This icon depicts Martin Luther King, one of the martyrs of the Twentieth Century. He was an ordained minister of the Baptist Church. From 1955 until his death, he led a campaign of nonviolent resistance in the United States against racial oppression and injustice. The number he wears around his neck is from a "mug shot" taken one of the many times he was arrested by American police for resisting unjust laws. The prison bars behind him represent the occasions he was placed in jail, and also the oppression and slavery of Afro-Americans in the United States. The text on his scroll is from his speech in Albany, Georgia, on December 14, 1961. The Greek inscription by his head reads, "Holy Martin." Since the eighteenth century, the faith of African American Christians in America has been tied to the struggle for freedom. Martin Luther King renewed the bond between faith and political action like the Old Testament prophets. Although his life was threatened many times, he continued to expose himself to danger. He was shot on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

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