SAN ANTONIO – We’ve all heard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, protesting for civil rights. What’s often less spoken about is King’s fight for better wages for underpaid factory workers in Atlanta and his Vietnam War protest.
While well-revered today, there was a time King was not well-liked by the majority.
“We posthumously romanticize (King) now,” said Dr. Lawrence Scott, assistant professor of educational leadership at Texas A&M San Antonio.
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“At the time near his death, they did a Gallup poll in 1960. He had a 30% popularity rate. So right now, of course, it’s in the high ’90s,” Scott said.
Scott said that, in addition to influencing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which removed barriers blocking African Americans’ right to vote, King took on other charges that received pushback.
“For instance, in 1964, he’s fighting for the Atlanta Scripto Pen factory. Some of the workers -- he was fighting for better wages for them. Or in 1966, he did the open housing campaign again to eradicate redlining and integrate neighborhoods,” Scott said.
One of King’s most significant endeavors to receive broad opposition was protesting the Vietnam War.