On the 18th of January, Africa and the international black community commemorated the legacy of her notable black revolutionaries, Patrice Lumumba and Martin Luther King Jr. While it was the 55th anniversary of Lumumba’s death, it was the Martin Luther King day in the United States, a national holiday.
When these two people are mentioned, one thing comes to mind, “Revolution.” This is the collectively common factor of these two black heroes. As an essential need, they gave the persistent cry and yearning for change a face, speaking up for the voiceless and bearing the brunt thereof. Patrice Lumumba and Martin Luther King Jr are black revolutionaries worth remembering for their unalterable stance for justice and social equity.
Patrice Émery Lumumba (1925 – 1961)
Popularly nicknamed “Che Guevara” for his communist views, Patrice Lumumba was the son of a farmer. He had a Christian background and worked as a postal clerk and beer salesman before fully launching himself into politics in 1955. Starting off, he employed a literary undertone to his political agenda – spreading the word and power of his pan-African/communist vision through written works.
At 34 he was the first democratically elected Congo Prime minister. His reign however lasted for 12 weeks before he was deposed in a coup. Congo’s independence, which he fervently fought for, was marred by civil wars and political instability, often referred to as the Congo crisis, which coincided with the cold war. This prompted Lumumba’s plea for assistance (and aid for the suffering people) from the Soviet Union as the UN failed to do so.
This interaction posed a rife between him and the ruling team and most definitely, the United States and Belgium. Consequently, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death by firing squad. He was beaten, tortured and assassinated on 17th of January, 1961, to suit the political ambition of certain persons and nations too.
Wikipedia records that,
“The United Nations, which he had asked to come to the Congo, did not intervene to save him. Belgium, the United States, and the United Kingdom have all been accused of involvement in Lumumba’s death…declassified documents revealed that the CIA had plotted to assassinate Lumumba, and may have carried out those actions with the help of the Katanga authorities.”
Lumumba’s death stirred up international protests and demonstration. In the words of Malcom X,
“Lumumba (is) the greatest black man who ever walked the African continent. He didn’t fear anybody. He had those people so scared they had to kill him. They couldn’t buy him; they couldn’t frighten him; they couldn’t reach him.”
Martin Luther King (1929-1968)
Nationality: United States of America
Rev. King was the son of a church minister who in his later life fought racism, employing civil disobedience, a technique popularized by Mahatma Gandhi, another world-renowned revolutionary in the 20th century. His famous “I Have A Dream” speech is one of the most powerful declarations with striking future significance as Obama assumed the presidency of the United States.
Martin Luther was a minister, humanitarian and civil right activist who was assassinated for his persistence in fighting for the freedom of the black community in the United States. Rev. King was born on 15th January, 1929 and brutally murdered on April 4, 1968, when he was shot on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
According to Yahoo reports, the Martin Luther day which was celebrated yesterday was done for the first time without the confederation flag, a flag which signified racial segregation. Symbolically this is still a fulfillment of Rev. King’s vision of equality and freedom.
Martin Luther day is observed on the third Monday of January each year, translating into yesterday, the 18th of January, 2016. Martin Luther was a subtle, yet efficiently great black revolutionary whose prowess resounded in every part of the world, echoing the need for social/racial equality.
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As can obviously be seen, these socio-political formidable characters seem to have one straight goal in life – to foster positive change in their societies.
- Both have entertained a level of controversies in their lifetime.
- They simply wanted social justice in their countries.
- You can call them quasi jailbirds as they were constantly detained for interfering in the ‘governance’ of the people, loudly voicing out what they passionately believed in.
- Though with different techniques, both revolutionaries fearlessly carried out their activities and were killed for them in the 20th century.
- The United States government was speculated to be involved in both deaths.
- Both men died in their 30’s; Lumumba died at 35 while Rev. King died at 39. Their deaths caused an international unrest, with riots and protests in the United States and various cities of the world.
- They were both BLACK and STRONG.