Civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most influential Americans of all time. He is most well known for his work during the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott and the March on Washington, during which he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. However, few people know of the history and connection he had with the island of Bimini in the Bahamas.
Dr. King visited the island of Bimini in 1964 and again in 1968. During one of these visits he wrote his Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech as well as his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address, which was the last address he ever gave. His tragic assassination took place in Memphis just a few days afterwards.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Saturday, October 6, 2012, the island of Bimini paid tribute to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. by erecting a bronze bust in his likeness. The ceremony took place in Alice Town on the 48th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to the island. The Prime Minister of Bimini, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, attended and spoke at the ceremony, along with Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, other high-ranking government officials and residents of the island. Dr. King’s son Martin Luther King III and his wife Arndrea also attended the ceremony.
A secondary bust was mounted in the mangroves where Dr. King spent time with his friend Captain Ansil Saunders, who was a bone fisherman and boat maker. Saunders was at the ceremony as well and spoke at great length about his relationship with Dr. King. He felt that calming and peaceful mangroves inspired King to write his two famous speeches.
It’s interesting to know that the island of Bimini has a long history of famous, historical figures visiting in order to experience the island’s restorative and rejuvenating powers and it’s incredible people. Ernest Hemingway stayed on the island, and it was there that he wrote his famous novel Island in the Sun. Acclaimed congressman and pastor Reverend Adam Clayton Powell also traveled to Bimini for a much needed peaceful retreat.
There’s no doubt that Bimini will continue to inspire people from all walks of life for ages to come. If you’re traveling to the Bahamas, please visit the island of Bimini. After a visit there, you may be inspired to do great things yourself.