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Major King Events Chronology: 1929-1968 | The Martin …

1929 15 January

Michael King, later known asMartin Luther King, Jr., is born at 501 Auburn Ave. in Atlanta, Georgia.

The King family –Martin Luther King, Sr. (Daddy King),Alberta Williams King,Willie Christine King, Martin Luther King, Jr., andAlfred Daniel Williams King(known as A. D. King) — moves from 501 Auburn Avenue to 193 Boulevard in Atlanta.

King begins his freshman year atMorehouse Collegein Atlanta.

TheAtlanta Constitutionpublishes Kingsletter to the editorstating that black people “are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens.”

King is ordained and appointed assistant pastor atEbenezer Baptist Churchin Atlanta.

King receives his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Morehouse College.

King begins his studies atCrozer Theological Seminaryin Chester, Pennsylvania.

King graduates from Crozer with a bachelor of divinity degree, delivering the valedictory address at commencement.

King begins his graduate studies in systematic theology atBoston University.

King andCoretta Scottare married at the Scott home near Marion, Alabama.

King begins his pastorate atDexter Avenue Baptist Churchin Montgomery, Alabama.

King is awarded his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University.

Yolanda Denise King, the Kings first child, is born.

Rosa Parksis arrested for refusing to vacate her seat and move to the rear of a city bus in Montgomery to make way for a white passenger.Jo Ann Robinsonand otherWomens Political Councilmembers mimeographthousands of leafletscalling for a one-day boycott of the citys buses on Monday, 5 December.

At a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church, theMontgomery Improvement Association(MIA) is formed. King becomes its president.

According to Kings later account inStride Toward Freedom, he receives a threatening phone call late in the evening, prompting a spiritual revelation that fills him with strength to carry on in spite of persecution.

At 9:15 p.m., while King speaks at a mass meeting, his home is bombed. His wife and daughter are not injured. Later King addresses an angry crowd that gathers outside the house, pleading fornonviolence.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the lower court opinion inBrowder v. Gayledeclaring Montgomery and Alabama bus segregation laws unconstitutional.

Montgomery City Lines resumes full service on all routes. King is among the first passengers to ride the buses in an integrated fashion.

Southern black ministers meet in Atlanta to share strategies in the fight against segregation. King is named chairman of the Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration (later known as theSouthern Christian Leadership Conference,SCLC).

King appears on the cover ofTimemagazine.

King attends the independence celebrations of thenew nation of Ghanain West Africa and meets with Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah.

At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., King delivers his first national address, “Give Us The Ballot,” at thePrayer Pilgrimage for Freedom.

King andRalph D. Abernathymeet with Vice PresidentRichard M. Nixonand issue a statement on their meeting.

Coretta King gives birth to their second child,Martin, III.

King and other civil rights leaders meet with PresidentDwight D. Eisenhowerin Washington.

Kings first bookStride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Storyis published.

During a book signing at Blumsteins Department Store in Harlem, New York, King is stabbed byIzola Ware Curry. He is rushed to Harlem Hospital where a team of doctors successfully remove a seven-inch letter opener from his chest.

King embarks on amonth-long visit to Indiawhere he meets with Prime MinisterJawaharlal Nehruand many ofGandhis followers.

King moves from Montgomery to Atlanta to devote more time to SCLC and the freedom struggle. He becomes assistant pastor to his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

King is found not guilty of tax fraud by a white jury in Montgomery.

King meets privately in New York with Democratic presidential candidateJohn F. Kennedy.

King is arrested during asit-indemonstration at Richs department store in Atlanta. He is sentenced to four months hard labor for violating a suspended sentence he received for a 1956 traffic violation. He is released on $2000 bond on 27 October.

Dexter Scott,Kings third child, is born.

After the initial group ofFreedom Ridersseeking to integrate bus terminals are assaulted in Alabama, King addresses a mass rally at a mob-besieged Montgomery church.

King meets with President John F. Kennedy and urges him to issue a secondEmancipation Proclamationto eliminate racial segregation.

King, Ralph Abernathy, Albany Movement presidentWilliam G. Anderson, and other protesters are arrested byLaurie Pritchettduring a campaign inAlbany, Georgia.

King is arrested at an Albany, Georgia prayer vigil and jailed. After spending two weeks in jail, King is released.

Bernice Albertine, Kings fourth child, is born.

Responding to eight Jewish and Christian clergymens advice that African Americans wait patiently for justice, King pens his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King and Abernathy were arrested on 12 April and released on 19 April.

Conflict in Birminghamreaches its peak when high-pressure fire hoses force demonstrators from the business district. In addition to hoses, Police CommissionerEugene “Bull” Connoremploys dogs, clubs, and cattle prods to disperse four thousand demonstrators in downtown Birmingham.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedomattracts more than two hundred thousand demonstrators to the Lincoln Memorial. Organized byA. Philip RandolphandBayard Rustin, the march is supported by all major civil rights organizations as well as by many labor and religious groups. King delivers his”I Have a Dream”speech.After the march, King and other civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy and Vice-PresidentLyndon B. Johnsonin the White House.

U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorizes theFBIto wiretap Kings home phone.

King is named “Man of the Year” byTime Magazine.

King meetsMalcolm Xin Washington, D.C. for the first and only time.

King’s bookWhy We Cant Waitis published.

King is arrested and jailed for demanding service at a white-only restaurant inSt. Augustine, Florida.

After King criticizes the FBIs failure to protect civil rights workers, the agencys directorJ. Edgar Hooverdenounces King as “the most notorious liar in the country.” A week later he states that SCLC is “spearheaded byCommunistsand moral degenerates.”

King meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the Justice Department.

King receives theNobel Peace Prizeat a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. He declares that “every penny” of the $54,000 award will be used in the ongoing civil rights struggle.

The King family moves to their new home at 234 Sunset Avenue in Atlanta.

In an event that will become known as “Bloody Sunday,” voting rights marchers are beaten at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as they attempt to march to Montgomery.

King,James Forman, andJohn Lewislead civil rights marchers from Selma to Montgomeryafter a U.S. District judge upholds the right of demonstrators to conduct an orderly march.

King publicly opposes theVietnam Warat a mass rally at the Ninth Annual Convention of SCLC in Birmingham.

King and his wife move into an apartment at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue inChicagoto draw attention to the city’s poor housing conditions.

In Chicago, King meets Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

King,Floyd McKissickof CORE, andStokely Carmichaelof SNCC resumeJames Merediths “March Against Fear” from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi, after Meredith was shot and wounded near Memphis.

King delivers “Beyond Vietnam” to a gathering ofClergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnamat Riverside Church in New York City. He demands that the U.S. take new initiatives to end the war.

Kings bookWhere Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?is published.

King leads a march of six thousand protesters in support ofstriking sanitation workers in Memphis. The march descends into violence and looting, and King is rushed from the scene.

King returns to Memphis, determined to lead a peaceful march. During an evening rally at Mason Temple in Memphis, King delivers his final speech,”Ive Been to the Mountaintop.”

King isshot and killedwhile standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

King is buried in Atlanta.

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Biografia de Martin Luther King – biografiasyvidas.com

(Martin Luther King Jr.; Atlanta, 1929 – Memphis, 1968) Pastor baptista estadounidense, defensor de los derechos civiles. La larga lucha de los norteamericanos de raza negra por alcanzar la plenitud de derechos conoci desde 1955 una aceleracin en cuyo liderazgo iba a destacar muy pronto el joven pastor Martin Luther King. Su accin no violenta, inspirada en el ejemplo de Gandhi, moviliz a una porcin creciente de la comunidad afroamericana hasta culminar en el verano de 1963 en la histrica marcha sobre Washington, que congreg a 250.000 manifestantes.

Martin Luther King

All, al pie del Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King pronunci el ms clebre y conmovedor de sus esplndidos discursos, conocido por la frmula que encabezaba la visin de un mundo justo: I have a dream (Tengo un sueo). Pese a las detenciones y agresiones policiales o racistas, el movimiento por la igualdad civil fue arrancando sentencias judiciales y decisiones legislativas contra la segregacin racial, y obtuvo el aval del premio Nobel de la Paz concedido a King en 1964. Lamentablemente, un destino funesto parece arrastrar a los apstoles de la no violencia: al igual que su maestro Gandhi, Martin Luther King cay asesinado cuatro aos despus.

Biografa

Hijo de un ministro baptista, Martin Luther King estudi teologa en la Universidad de Boston. Desde joven tom conciencia de la situacin de segregacin social y racial en que vivan los negros de su pas, y en especial los de los estados sureos. Convertido en pastor baptista, en 1954 se hizo cargo de una iglesia en la ciudad de Montgomery, Alabama.

Con su esposa, Coretta Scott, y su primera hija (1956)

Muy pronto dio muestras de su carisma y de su firme decisin de luchar por la defensa de los derechos civiles con mtodos pacficos, inspirndose en la figura de Mahatma Gandhi y en la teora de la desobediencia civil de Henry David Thoreau. En agosto de 1955 una humilde modista negra, Rosa Parks, fue detenida y multada por sentarse en la seccin reservada para blancos de un autobs; King dirigi un masivo boicot de ms de un ao contra la segregacin en los autobuses municipales.

La fama de Martin Luther King se extendi rpidamente por todo el pas y enseguida asumi la direccin del movimiento pacifista estadounidense, primero a travs de la Southern Cristian Leadership Conference y ms tarde del Congress of Racial Equality. Asimismo, como miembro de la Asociacin para el Progreso de la Gente de Color, abri otro frente para lograr mejoras en sus condiciones de vida.

En 1960 aprovech una sentada espontnea de estudiantes negros en Birmingham, Alabama, para iniciar una campaa de alcance nacional. En esta ocasin, Martin Luther King fue encarcelado y posteriormente liberado por la intercesin de John Fitgerald Kennedy, entonces candidato a la presidencia de Estados Unidos, pero logr para los negros la igualdad de acceso a las bibliotecas, los comedores y los estacionamientos.

En el verano de 1963, su lucha alcanz uno de sus momentos culminantes al encabezar una gigantesca marcha sobre Washington en la que participaron unas 250.000 personas, ante las cuales pronunci el discurso hoy titulado I have a dream (Tengo un sueo), una bellsima alocucin en favor de la paz y la igualdad entre los seres humanos. King y otros representantes de organizaciones antirracistas fueron recibidos por el presidente Kennedy, quien se comprometi a agilizar su poltica contra el segregacionismo en las escuelas y en la cuestin del desempleo, que afectaba de modo especial a la comunidad negra.

Martin Luther King se dirige a la multitud en la marcha sobre Washington (1963)

No obstante, ni las buenas intenciones del presidente, quien morira asesinado meses ms tarde, ni el vigor tico del mensaje de Martin Luther King, premio Nobel de la Paz en 1964, parecan suficientes para contener el avance de los grupos nacionalistas de color contrarios a la integracin y favorables a la violencia, como Poder Negro, Panteras Negras y Musulmanes Negros. La permeabilidad de los colectivos de color (sobre todo de los que vivan en los guetos de Nueva York y de otros estados del norte) a la influencia de estos grupos violentos pona en peligro el ncleo del mensaje de King, el pacifismo.

En marzo de 1965 encabez una manifestacin de miles de defensores de los derechos civiles que recorrieron casi un centenar de kilmetros, desde Selma, donde se haban producido actos de violencia racial, hasta Montgomery. La lucha de Martin Luther King tuvo un final trgico: el 4 de abril de 1968 fue asesinado en Memphis por James Earl Ray, un delincuente comn de raza blanca. Mientras se celebraban sus funerales en la iglesia Edenhaser de Atlanta, una ola de violencia se extendi por todo el pas. Ray, detenido por la polica, se reconoci autor del asesinato y fue condenado con pruebas circunstanciales. Aos ms tarde se retract de su declaracin y, con el apoyo de la familia King, pidi la reapertura del caso y la vista de un nuevo juicio.

Obra e ideario

Martin Luther King entendi como una condicin esencial de la dignidad humana la igualdad racial, la cual se hallaba por otra parte legitimada, en el plano poltico, por los principios de la democracia norteamericana (de la cual siempre se declar partidario), y en el plano moral, por los principios religiosos. En consecuencia, la accin destinada a la conquista de los propios derechos no deba ser considerada jams como subversiva ni revolucionaria. King no proclamaba la violacin de la ley, sino que sostena que no pueden obedecerse leyes injustas, porque stas se oponen a la ley moral. Sealaba el camino del amor en contraposicin a la inactividad de los negros pasivos y al odio exasperado de los nacionalistas. Y se dola de no haber sido ayudado y comprendido por la iglesia blanca.

En este sentido, King adapt y desarroll el concepto de Gandhi de la no violencia, que supo aplicar de forma creativa en una serie de campaas antisegregacionistas que le convirtieron en el lder ms prestigioso del movimiento americano para los derechos civiles, le valieron la concesin en 1964 del premio Nobel de la Paz y provocaron su asesinato a manos de un racista fantico en 1968. Tras su fallecimiento, el movimiento negro estadounidense emprendi un camino ms abiertamente revolucionario y violento, alejado de la inspiracin cristiana y liberal de King, cuya memoria, a pesar de todo, sigue siendo venerada y amada por las masas de desheredados de su raza.

El mismo ao del Nobel, el presidente Lyndon Johnson, sucesor de Kennedy tras el magnicidio, promulg la ley de derechos civiles, que consagraba la igualdad de todos los ciudadanos. Segn King, los negros tenan que abandonar su abstracta neutralidad poltica para estrechar alianzas electorales y apoyar a los candidatos dignos de confianza, porque “la influencia de los negros en el poder poltico es importante”. Solamente entonces se alcanzara la verdadera meta de la libertad, porque el destino de los negros est unido al de toda Amrica.

Sus principios quedaron expresados, adems de en la clebre Carta desde la prisin de Birmingham (1963, publicada por la revista francesa Esprit en 1964), en numerosas obras entre las que destacan La fuerza de amar (Strength to Love, 1965) y El clarn de la conciencia (The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968), en las que a menudo su prosa, inspirada en la tradicin bblica del protestantismo anglosajn, alcanza momentos de altsima emocin y humanidad.

Mencin aparte merece Por qu no podemos esperar (Why We Can’t Wait, 1964), en la medida en que la exposicin de su credo poltico se alterna en esta obra con una apasionada evocacin de los hechos del verano de 1963 (vividos por el propio autor como protagonista) de gran valor como testimonio histrico. El libro es la historia de la liberacin de un pueblo, obtenida mediante el empleo de “un arma potente y justa… que corta sin herir y ennoblece al hombre que la empua”: la no violencia.

I have a dream

Pese al valor de su obra escrita, ninguno de sus textos despert la universal admiracin del ms famoso de sus discursos: el que pronunci el 28 de agosto de 1963 ante los 250.000 integrantes de la marcha sobre Washington, al pie del Monumento a Abraham Lincoln, el presidente que, un siglo antes, haba abolido la esclavitud: “Hace cien aos, un gran americano, bajo cuya sombra simblica nos encontramos hoy, firm la Proclamacin de la Emancipacin. Este trascendental decreto apareci como un gran fanal de esperanza para millones de esclavos que haban sido marcados con el fuego de una flagrante injusticia. Lleg como el amanecer jubiloso de la larga noche de su cautividad. Pero cien aos despus, la Amrica de color sigue sin ser libre.”

I have a dream [fragmento]. Subtitulado en espaol. Washington, 28 de agosto de 1963.

Considerado una obra maestra de la oratoria, el nombre con que este discurso es conocido procede de su parte central, en la que reiterando la frmula I have a dream (Tengo un sueo), Martin Luther King eleva a la condicin de ideal la simple materializacin de la igualdad: “Sueo que mis cuatro hijos pequeos vivirn algn da en una nacin donde no se les juzgar por el color de su piel sino por las cualidades de su carcter”. Valioso tanto como condensada expresin de sus principios como por su impresionante altura emotiva, su vigencia sigue conmoviendo ms de medio siglo despus.

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs settle dispute over Nobel …

Martin Luther King Jr.’s traveling Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal will be released to his estate, according to a consent order signed by a judge on Monday, ending a years-long ownership dispute between the civil rights leader’s three children.

The dispute began in January 2014, when Mr. King’s two sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King, voted 2-1 against their sister Bernice King to sell the items, which were in Bernice’s possession, to an unnamed private buyer. At the time, Bernice said she could not consider doing so, as her father’s heirlooms were “sacred.”

“There is no justification for selling either of these sacred items,” she wrote in a statement. “They are priceless and should never be exchanged for money in the marketplace. While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them … reveals a desperation beyond comprehension.”

About a week after the vote, the estate, of which King’s three children are the sole shareholders and directors, filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order her to surrender them.

On Monday, the same day a trial to determine the ownership of the Nobel medal was scheduled to begin,Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney signed an order submitted by both sides dismissing the suit. The order turned the keys to the safe deposit box holding the Bible and medal over to Martin, the chairman of the estate. The owner of the Bible had already been determined, as Judge McBurney ruled last month that it belonged to the estate.

The three siblings had a long history of taking each other to court, even before the dispute over the Bible and medal, as The Christian Science Monitor’s Cristina Maza reported in January 2015:

The dispute is far from the first legal battle the King siblings have entered into. In August 2013, which was the 50th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, his estate demanded that Ms. King cease to use her father’s image, likeness, and memorabilia in her role as CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Lawyers in the case also declared that the center was storing some of Dr. Kings personal effects in an unacceptable manner. A ruling on that case is still pending.

In a previous lawsuit, Ms. King and Martin Luther King III sued Dexter King. The two siblings claimed that their brother had taken cash from the estate of their late mother, Coretta Scott King, to launch a private business venture.

For many, the clashes between the offspring of an inspirational historical figure have been rather disheartening.

The surprising settlement signed Monday, the chances of which had been deemed “fair/poor” in a court filing last week, ended a long and arduous legal process. The dispute was originally set to go to trial in February 2015, until Judge McBurney halted all action in the case in an attempt to reach a resolution outside of court. In May, lawyers for both sides reported that they had almost reached an agreement, leading McBurney to order mediation.

Typically, Judge McBurney said at a hearing in June, he would not allow such long delays in a case, but made an exception because of the importance of the items.

The Bible in question, which King used while traveling, was used by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration in January 2013. The civil rights leader was awarded the Nobel medal in 1964, four years before his assassination.

This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press.

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs settle Nobel medal dispute …

By David Beasley | ATLANTA

ATLANTA Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs have agreed to end their legal fight over who owns the slain civil rights leader’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal, according to a court document filed on Monday that did not disclose if the item will be sold.

A trial to settle the years-long dispute had been set to start in Atlanta on Monday. It would have pitted King’s two sons against his surviving daughter, who were at odds over whether to sell the medal.

In a joint statement from the siblings, the family credited former U.S. President Jimmy Carter with guiding them to the confidential agreement.

The three siblings serve as directors of a corporation formed to manage the estate of King, who had no will when he was assassinated in 1968 at age 39 by a white supremacist in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King III and Dexter King voted in January 2014 to sell the medal and a Bible their father carried during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Bernice King objected to a sale, calling the heirlooms “sacred” to the family.

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney had ordered the items to be kept in a court-controlled safe deposit box pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

The judge on Monday signed an order in which the parties asked for the suit to be dismissed and agreed the keys to the box should be given to Martin Luther King III, who serves as chairman of the estate board.

The judge said in court he did not know any further details of the settlement.

“While Bernice has always believed that the Peace Prize and Bible should not be sold, I am grateful that she has agreed not to stand in the way of the Estates decisions about how to handle the items,” Carter said in a statement.

“As in any mediation, compromises were required, and I am glad that the parties resolved the issues in the interest of the greater good and their parents legacy, the former president added.

Last month, McBurney ruled that the Bible, which Barack Obama, America’s first black president, used at his second inaugural in 2013, belonged to the estate.

(Editing by Alan Crosby and Peter Cooney)

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Martin Luther King Jr. > Quotes – Goodreads

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they cant stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes theyll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. Thats love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. Theres something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”) Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Martin Luther King Day in the United States

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States.

Martin Luther King Day is a relatively new federal holiday and there are few long standing traditions. It is seen as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. Some educational establishments mark the day by teaching their pupils or students about the work of Martin Luther King and the struggle against racial segregation and racism. In recent years, federal legislation has encouraged Americans to give some of their time on this day as volunteers in citizen action groups.

Martin Luther King Day, also known as Martin Luther Kings birthday and Martin Luther King Jr Day, is combined with other days in different states. For example, it is combined with Civil Rights Day in Arizona and New Hampshire, while it is observed together with Human Rights Day in Idaho. It is also a day that is combined with Robert E. Lees birthday in some states. The day is known as Wyoming Equality Day in the state of Wyoming.

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday, but has slightly different names in some states. Non-essential Government departments are closed, as are many corporations. Some schools and colleges close but others stay open and teach their students about the life and work of Martin Luther King.

Small companies, such as grocery stores and restaurants tend to be open, although a growing number are choosing to close on this day. Some compensate by opening on Washington’s Birthday instead. Recent federal legislation encourages Americans to give some of their time on Martin Luther King Day as volunteers in citizen action groups. Public transit systems may or may not operate on their regular schedule.

Martin Luther King was an important civil rights activist. He was a leader in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. His most famous address was the “I Have A Dream” speech. He was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968.

In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King died, a campaign was started for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions lead the campaign for the federal holiday. It was endorsed in 1976. Following support from the musician Stevie Wonder with his single “Happy Birthday” and a petition with six million signatures, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although it was not observed in all states until the year 2000. In 1990, the Wyoming legislature designated Martin Luther King Jr/Wyoming Equality Day as a legal holiday.

List of dates for other years

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Martin Luther King, Jr. | Biography & Facts | Britannica.com

Alternative titles: Michael Luther King, Jr.; MLK Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.American religious leader and civil-rights activist

January 15, 1929

Atlanta, Georgia

April 4, 1968

Memphis, Tennessee

Martin Luther King, Jr., original name Michael King, Jr. (born January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.died April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee) Baptist minister and social activist 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 movements success in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States. King rose to national prominence as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which promoted nonviolent tactics, such as the massive March on Washington (1963), to achieve civil rights. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

King came from a comfortable middle-class family steeped in the tradition of the Southern black ministry: both his father and maternal grandfather were Baptist preachers. His parents were college-educated, and Kings father had succeeded his father-in-law as pastor of the prestigious Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The family lived on Auburn Avenue, otherwise known as Sweet Auburn, the bustling black Wall Street, home to some of the countrys largest and most prosperous black businesses and black churches in the years before the civil rights movement. Young Martin received a solid education and grew up in a loving extended family.

This secure upbringing, however, did not prevent King from experiencing the prejudices then common in the South. He never forgot the time when, at about age six, one of his white playmates announced that his parents would no longer allow him to play with King, because the children were now attending segregated schools. Dearest to King in these early years was his maternal grandmother, whose death in 1941 left him shaken and unstable. Upset because he had learned of her fatal heart attack while attending a parade without his parents permission, the 12-year-old King attempted suicide by jumping from a second-story window.

In 1944, at age 15, King entered Morehouse College in Atlanta under a special wartime program intended to boost enrollment by admitting promising high-school students like King. Before beginning college, however, King spent the summer on a tobacco farm in Connecticut; it was his first extended stay away from home and his first substantial experience of race relations outside the segregated South. He was shocked by how peacefully the races mixed in the North. Negroes and whites go [to] the same church, he noted in a letter to his parents. I never [thought] that a person of my race could eat anywhere. This summer experience in the North only deepened Kings growing hatred of racial segregation.

At Morehouse, King favoured studies in medicine and law, but these were eclipsed in his senior year by a decision to enter the ministry, as his father had urged. Kings mentor at Morehouse was the college president, Benjamin Mays, a social gospel activist whose rich oratory and progressive ideas had left an indelible imprint on Kings father. Committed to fighting racial inequality, Mays accused the African American community of complacency in the face of oppression, and he prodded the black church into social action by criticizing its emphasis on the hereafter instead of the here and now; it was a call to service that was not lost on the teenage King. He graduated from Morehouse in 1948.

King spent the next three years at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he became acquainted with Mohandas Gandhis philosophy of nonviolence as well as with the thought of contemporary Protestant theologians. He earned a bachelor of divinity degree in 1951. Renowned for his oratorical skills, King was elected president of Crozers student body, which was composed almost exclusively of white students. As a professor at Crozer wrote in a letter of recommendation for King, The fact that with our student body largely Southern in constitution a colored man should be elected to and be popular [in] such a position is in itself no mean recommendation. From Crozer, King went to Boston University, where, in seeking a firm foundation for his own theological and ethical inclinations, he studied mans relationship to God and received a doctorate (1955) for a dissertation titled A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.

King, Martin Luther, Jr.; Montgomery, Alabama Bettmann/CorbisWhile 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, Alabama, slightly more than a year when the citys small group of civil rights advocates decided to contest racial segregation on that citys public bus system following the incident on December 1, 1955, in which Rosa Parks, an African American woman, had refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger and as a consequence was arrested for violating the citys segregation law. 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 it was thought that his family connections and professional standing would enable him to find another pastorate should the boycott fail.

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 country a fresh voice, a skillful rhetoric, an inspiring personality, and in time a dynamic new doctrine of civil struggle. Although Kings home was dynamited and his familys safety threatened, he continued to lead the boycott until, one year and a few weeks later, the citys buses were desegregated.

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 race-related issues with religious and civil rights leaders at home and abroad. In February 1959 he and his party were warmly received by Indias Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and others; as the result of a brief discussion with followers of Gandhi about the Gandhian concepts of peaceful noncompliance (satyagraha), King became increasingly convinced that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. King also looked to Africa for inspiration. The liberation struggle in Africa has been the greatest single international influence on American Negro students, he wrote. Frequently I hear them say that if their African brothers can break the bonds of colonialism, surely the American Negro can break Jim Crow.

In 1960 King and his family moved to his native city of Atlanta, where he became co-pastor 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 Georgias flouting of legal forms, and the failure of Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower to intervene. King was released only upon the intercession of Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedyan action so widely publicized that it was felt to have contributed substantially to Kennedys slender election victory eight days later.

Johnson, Lyndon B.: meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr.Yoichi Okamoto/Lyndon B. Johnson Library PhotoIn the years from 1960 to 1965, Kings influence reached its zenith. Handsome, eloquent, and doggedly determined, King quickly caught the attention of the news media, particularly of the producers of that budding medium of social changetelevision. He understood the power of television to nationalize and internationalize the struggle for civil rights, and his well-publicized tactics of active nonviolence (sit-ins, protest marches) aroused the devoted allegiance of many African Americans and liberal whites in all parts of the country, as well as support from the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. But there were also notable failures, as in Albany, Georgia (196162), when King and his colleagues failed to achieve their desegregation goals for public parks and other facilities.

In Birmingham, Alabama, in the spring of 1963, Kings 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 African Americans 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? Isnt 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.

I Have A Dream: King delivering his I Have a Dream speech in Washington, 1963Francis MillerTime Life Pictures/Getty ImagesNear the end of the Birmingham campaign, in an effort to draw together the multiple forces for peaceful change and to dramatize to the country 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 August 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 Kings famous I Have a Dream speech, in which he emphasized his faith that all men, someday, would be brothers.

Johnson, Lyndon B.: signing the Civil Rights ActLyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum; photograph, Cecil StoughtonThe 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 Peace Prize in Oslo in December. I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind, said King in his acceptance speech. I refuse to accept the idea that the isness of mans present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal oughtness that forever confronts him.

Martin Luther King, Jr.Bettmann/CorbisThe first signs of opposition to Kings tactics from within the civil rights movement surfaced during the March 1965 demonstrations in Selma, Alabama, which were aimed at dramatizing the need for a federal voting-rights law that would provide legal support for the enfranchisement of African Americans 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 was 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 to kneel 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 authoritiesvigorously but not entirely convincingly deniedclung 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, Kings religious philosophy of nonviolence was increasingly questioned. The rioting in the Watts district of Los Angeles in August 1965 demonstrated the depth of unrest among urban African Americans. 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 African Americans, liberals, and labour organizations, calling for various measures to enforce the existing laws and regulations with respect to housing. But this agreement was to have little effect; the impression remained that Kings Chicago campaign was nullified partly because of the opposition of that citys powerful mayor, Richard J. Daley, and partly because of the unexpected complexities of Northern racism.

Malcolm X: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (digital file no. 3d01847u)In Illinois and Mississippi alike, King was now being challenged and even publicly derided by young black-power enthusiasts. Whereas King stood for patience, middle-class respectability, and a measured approach to social change, the sharp-tongued, blue jean-clad young urban radicals stood for confrontation and immediate change. In the latters eyes, the suit-wearing, calm-spoken civil rights leader was irresponsibly passive and old beyond his years (King was in his 30s)more a member of the other side of the generation gap than their revolutionary leader. Malcolm X went so far as to call Kings tactics criminal: Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.

In the face of mounting criticism, King broadened his approach to include concerns other than racism. 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 U.S. 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 economic problems such as poverty and unemployment. It was a version of populismseeking 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.

Meanwhile, the strain and changing dynamics of the civil rights movement had taken a toll on King, especially in the final months of his life. Im frankly tired of marching. Im tired of going to jail, he admitted in 1968. Living every day under the threat of death, I feel discouraged every now and then and feel my works in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.

riot: building in Washington, D.C., destroyed during riots following King assassinationLibrary of Congress, Washington, D.C. (digital file no. 03132u)Kings plans for a Poor Peoples March to Washington were interrupted in the spring of 1968 by a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of a strike by that citys sanitation workers. In the opinion of many of his followers and biographers, King seemed to sense his end was near. As King prophetically told a crowd at the Mason Temple Church in Memphis on April 3, the night before he died, Ive seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. The next day, while standing on the second-story balcony of the Lorraine Motel, where he and his associates were staying, King was killed by a snipers bullet. The killing sparked riots and disturbances in over 100 cities across the country. On March 10, 1969, the accused assassin, a white man, James Earl Ray, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Ray later recanted his confession, claiming lawyers had coerced him into confessing and that he was the victim of a conspiracy. In a surprising turn of events, members of the King family eventually came to Rays defense. Kings son Dexter met with the reputed assassin in March 1997 and then publicly joined Rays plea for a reopening of his case. When Ray died on April 23, 1998, Coretta Scott King declared, America will never have the benefit of Mr. Rays trial, which would have produced new revelations about the assassinationas well as establish the facts concerning Mr. Rays innocence. Although the U.S. government conducted several investigations into the murder of King and each time concluded that Ray was the sole assassin, the killing remains a matter of controversy.

play_circle_outlineSocrates; King, Martin Luther, Jr.Courtesy of Northwestern University (A Britannica Publishing Partner)In the years after his death, King remained the most widely known African American leader of his era. His stature as a major historical figure was confirmed by the successful campaign to establish a national holiday in his honour in the United States and by the building of a King memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., near the Lincoln Memorial, the site of his famous I Have a Dream speech in 1963. Many states and municipalities have enacted King holidays, authorized public statues and paintings of him, and named streets, schools, and other entities for him. These efforts to honour King have focused more on his role as a civil rights advocate than on his controversial speeches, during his final year, condemning American intervention in Vietnam and calling for the Poor Peoples Campaign.

The King holiday campaign overcame forceful opposition, with critics citing FBI surveillance files suggesting that King was an adulterous radical influenced by communists. Although the release of these files during the 1970s under the Freedom of Information Act fueled the public debate over Kings legacy, the extensive archives that now exist document Kings life and thought and have informed numerous serious studies offering balanced and comprehensive perspectives. Two major books featuring KingDavid J. Garrows Bearing the Cross (1986) and Taylor Branchs Parting the Waters (1988)won Pulitzer Prizes. Subsequent books and articles reaffirmed Kings historical significance while portraying him as a complex figure: flawed, fallible, and limited in his control over the mass movements with which he was associated, yet also a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social justice through nonviolent means.

Although the idea of a King national holiday did not gain significant congressional support until the late 1970s, efforts to commemorate Kings life began almost immediately after his assassination. In 1968 Rep. John Conyers of Michigan introduced a King holiday bill. The idea gradually began to attract political support once the newly formed Congressional Black Caucus included the holiday in its reform agenda. Coretta Scott King also played a central role in building popular support for the King holiday campaign while serving as founding president of the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change (later renamed the King Center), which became one of the major archives of Kings papers.

Despite the overall conservative trend in American politics in the 1980s, which might have been expected to work against recognition of the efforts of a controversial activist, King holiday advocates gained political support by portraying him as a symbol of the countrys progress in race relations. Musician Stevie Wonder contributed to the campaign by writing and recording Happy Birthday, a popular tribute to King. In 1983 Coretta Scott King and Stevie Wonder participated in the 20th Anniversary March on Washington, which drew a bigger crowd than the original march.

After the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of the King holiday bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy, Pres. Ronald Reagan put aside his initial doubts and signed the legislation on November 3, 1983, establishing Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, to be celebrated annually on the third Monday in January. Coretta Scott King also succeeded in gaining congressional approval to establish a King Federal Holiday Commission to plan annual celebrations, beginning January 20, 1986, that would encourage Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King.

Celebration of the King national holiday did not end contention over Kings legacy, but his status as an American icon became more widely accepted over time. The revelation during the early 1990s that King had plagiarized some of his academic writings and the occasional controversies involving his heirs did little to undermine recognition of Kings enduring impact on the country. Even before the first King national holiday, members of Kings fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, had proposed a permanent memorial in Washington, D.C. By the end of the 20th century, that proposal had secured governmental approval for the site on the Tidal Basin, near the Mall. In 2000 an international design competition ended with the selection of a proposal by ROMA Design Group. To build and maintain the memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation eventually raised more than $100 million. Commemorations of Kings life were also held in other countries, and in 2009 a congressional delegation traveled to India to mark the 50th anniversary of Kings pilgrimage to what he called the Land of Gandhi.

As with the lives of other major historical figures, Kings life has been interpreted in new ways by successive generations of scholars, many of whom have drawn attention to the crucial role of local black leaders in the African American protest movements of the 1950s and 60s. Recognizing that grassroots activists such as Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth, and others prepared the way for Kings rise to national prominence, biographers and historians have questioned the view that Southern black protest movements relied on Kings charismatic guidance. Nonetheless, studies of King continue to acknowledge his distinctive leadership role. For example, though he often downplayed his contribution to the Montgomery bus boycott, Kings inspirational leadership and his speeches helped to transform a local protest over bus seating into a historically important event. More generally, studies of King have suggested that his most significant contribution to the modern African American freedom struggle was to link black aspirations to transcendent, widely shared democratic and Christian ideals. While helping grassroots leaders mobilize African Americans for sustained mass struggles, he inspired participants to believe that their cause was just and consistent with traditional American egalitarian values. King also appealed to the consciences of all Americans, thus building popular support for civil rights reform. His strategy of emphasizing nonviolent protest and interracial cooperation enabled him to fight effectively against the Southern system of legalized racial segregation and discrimination, but it also proved inadequate during his final years as he sought to overcome racial and economic problems that were national in scope.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes (Author of The Autobiography of …

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they cant stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes theyll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. Thats love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. Theres something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”) Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Biographical Sketch – Martin Luther King, Jr. – Research …

Birth and Family

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born at noon Tuesday, January 15, 1929, at the family home, 501 Auburn Avenue, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Charles Johnson was the attending physician. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the first son and second child born to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., and Alberta Williams King. Other children born to the Kings were Christine King Farris and the late Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams King. Martin Luther King’s maternal grandparents were the Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, second pastor of Ebenezer Baptist, and Jenny Parks Williams. His paternal grandparents, James Albert and Delia King, were sharecroppers on a farm in Stockbridge, Georgia.

He married the former Coretta Scott, younger daughter of Obadiah and Bernice McMurray Scott of Marion, Alabama on June 18, 1953. The marriage ceremony took place on the lawn of the Scott’s home in Marion. The Reverend King, Sr., performed the service, with Mrs. Edythe Bagley, the sister of Mrs. King, maid of honor, and the Reverend A.D. King, the brother of Martin Luther King, Jr., best man.

Four children were born to Dr. and Mrs. King: Yolanda Denise (November 17, 1955 Montgomery, Alabama) Martin Luther III (October 23, 1957 Montgomery, Alabama) Dexter Scott (January 30, 1961 Atlanta, Georgia) Bernice Albertine (March 28, 1963 Atlanta, Georgia)

Education

Martin Luther King, Jr. began his education at the Yonge Street Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. Following Yonge School, he was enrolled in David T. Howard Elementary School. He also attended the Atlanta University Laboratory School and Booker T. Washington High School. Because of his high score on the college entrance examinations in his junior year of high school, he advanced to Morehouse College without formal graduation from Booker T. Washington. Having skipped both the ninth and twelfth grades, Dr. King entered Morehouse at the age of fifteen.

In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in Sociology. That fall, he enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. While attending Crozer, he also studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He was elected president of the senior class and delivered the valedictory address; he won the Pearl Plafker Award for the most outstanding student; and he received the J. Lewis Crozer fellowship for graduate study at a university of his choice. He was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer in 1951.

In September of 1951, Martin Luther King began doctoral studies in Systematic Theology at Boston University. He also studied at Harvard University. His dissertation,A Comparison of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Wieman, was completed in 1955, and the Ph.D. degree from Boston, a Doctorate of Philosophy in Systematic Theology, was awarded on June 5, 1955.

Martin Luther King entered the Christian ministry and was ordained in February 1948 at the age of nineteen at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia. Following his ordination, he became Assistant Pastor of Ebenezer. Upon completion of his studies at Boston University, he accepted the call of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama. He was the pastor of Dexter Avenue from September 1954 to November 1959, when he resigned to move to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1960 until his death in 1968, he was co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church and President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dr. King was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. He was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization which was responsible for the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott from 1955 to 1956 (381 days). He was arrested thirty times for his participation in civil rights activities. He was a founder and president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1957 to 1968. He was also vice president of the national Sunday School and Baptist Teaching Union Congress of the National Baptist Convention. He was a member of several national and local boards of directors and served on the boards of trustees of several institutions and agencies. Dr. King was elected to membership in several learned societies including the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Speeches

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital personality of the modern era. His lectures and remarks stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation; the movements and marches he led brought significant changes in the fabric of American life; his courageous and selfless devotion gave direction to thirteen years of civil rights activities; his charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in the nation and abroad. Dr. King’s concept of somebodiness gave black and poor people a new sense of worth and dignity. His philosophy of nonviolent direct action, and his strategies for rational and non-destructive social change, galvanized the conscience of this nation and reordered its priorities. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, for example, went to Congress as a result of the Selma to Montgomery march. His wisdom, his words, his actions, his commitment, and his dreams for a new cast of life, are intertwined with the American experience. Dr. King’s speech at the march on Washington in 1963, his acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize, his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his final speech in Memphis (I’ve Been to the Mountaintop)are among his most famous. The Letter from Birmingham Jail ranks among the most important American documents.

Death

Dr. King was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, by James Earl Ray. James Earl Ray was arrested in London, England on June 8, 1968 and returned to Memphis, Tennessee to stand trial for the assassination of Dr. King. On March 9, 1969, before coming to trial, he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to ninety-nine years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. Dr. King had been in Memphis to help lead sanitation workers in a protest against low wages and intolerable conditions. His funeral services were held April 9, 1968, in Atlanta at Ebenezer Church and on the campus of Morehouse College, with the President of the United States proclaiming a day of mourning and flags being flown at half-staff. The area where Dr. King was entombed is located on Freedom Plaza and surrounded by the Freedom Hall Complex of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site, a 23 acre area was listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 5, 1977, and was made a National Historic Site on October 10, 1980 by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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1929 15 January Michael King, later known asMartin Luther King, Jr., is born at 501 Auburn Ave. in Atlanta, Georgia. The King family –Martin Luther King, Sr. (Daddy King),Alberta Williams King,Willie Christine King, Martin Luther King, Jr., andAlfred Daniel Williams King(known as A. D. King) — moves from 501 Auburn Avenue to 193 Boulevard in Atlanta. King begins his freshman year atMorehouse Collegein Atlanta. TheAtlanta Constitutionpublishes Kingsletter to the editorstating that black people “are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens.” King is ordained and appointed assistant pastor atEbenezer Baptist Churchin Atlanta. King receives his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Morehouse College. King begins his studies atCrozer Theological Seminaryin Chester, Pennsylvania. King graduates from Crozer with a bachelor of divinity degree, delivering the valedictory address at commencement. King begins his graduate studies in systematic theology atBoston University. King andCoretta Scottare married at the Scott home near Marion, Alabama. King begins his pastorate atDexter Avenue Baptist Churchin Montgomery, Alabama. King is awarded his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University. Yolanda Denise King, the Kings first child, is born. Rosa Parksis arrested for refusing to vacate her seat and move to the rear of a city bus in Montgomery to make way for a white passenger.Jo Ann Robinsonand otherWomens Political Councilmembers mimeographthousands of leafletscalling for a one-day boycott of the citys buses on Monday, 5 December. At a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church, theMontgomery Improvement Association(MIA) is formed. King becomes its president. According to Kings later account inStride Toward Freedom, he receives a threatening phone call late in the evening, prompting a spiritual revelation that fills him with strength to carry on in spite of persecution. At 9:15 p.m., while King speaks at a mass meeting, his home is bombed. His wife and daughter are not injured. Later King addresses an angry crowd that gathers outside the house, pleading fornonviolence. The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the lower court opinion inBrowder v. Gayledeclaring Montgomery and Alabama bus segregation laws unconstitutional. Montgomery City Lines resumes full service on all routes. King is among the first passengers to ride the buses in an integrated fashion. Southern black ministers meet in Atlanta to share strategies in the fight against segregation. King is named chairman of the Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration (later known as theSouthern Christian Leadership Conference,SCLC). King appears on the cover ofTimemagazine. King attends the independence celebrations of thenew nation of Ghanain West Africa and meets with Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah. At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., King delivers his first national address, “Give Us The Ballot,” at thePrayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. King andRalph D. Abernathymeet with Vice PresidentRichard M. Nixonand issue a statement on their meeting. Coretta King gives birth to their second child,Martin, III. King and other civil rights leaders meet with PresidentDwight D. Eisenhowerin Washington. Kings first bookStride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Storyis published. During a book signing at Blumsteins Department Store in Harlem, New York, King is stabbed byIzola Ware Curry. He is rushed to Harlem Hospital where a team of doctors successfully remove a seven-inch letter opener from his chest. King embarks on amonth-long visit to Indiawhere he meets with Prime MinisterJawaharlal Nehruand many ofGandhis followers. King moves from Montgomery to Atlanta to devote more time to SCLC and the freedom struggle. He becomes assistant pastor to his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church. King is found not guilty of tax fraud by a white jury in Montgomery. King meets privately in New York with Democratic presidential candidateJohn F. Kennedy. King is arrested during asit-indemonstration at Richs department store in Atlanta. He is sentenced to four months hard labor for violating a suspended sentence he received for a 1956 traffic violation. He is released on $2000 bond on 27 October. Dexter Scott,Kings third child, is born. After the initial group ofFreedom Ridersseeking to integrate bus terminals are assaulted in Alabama, King addresses a mass rally at a mob-besieged Montgomery church. King meets with President John F. Kennedy and urges him to issue a secondEmancipation Proclamationto eliminate racial segregation. King, Ralph Abernathy, Albany Movement presidentWilliam G. Anderson, and other protesters are arrested byLaurie Pritchettduring a campaign inAlbany, Georgia. King is arrested at an Albany, Georgia prayer vigil and jailed. After spending two weeks in jail, King is released. Bernice Albertine, Kings fourth child, is born. Responding to eight Jewish and Christian clergymens advice that African Americans wait patiently for justice, King pens his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King and Abernathy were arrested on 12 April and released on 19 April. Conflict in Birminghamreaches its peak when high-pressure fire hoses force demonstrators from the business district. In addition to hoses, Police CommissionerEugene “Bull” Connoremploys dogs, clubs, and cattle prods to disperse four thousand demonstrators in downtown Birmingham. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedomattracts more than two hundred thousand demonstrators to the Lincoln Memorial. Organized byA. Philip RandolphandBayard Rustin, the march is supported by all major civil rights organizations as well as by many labor and religious groups. King delivers his”I Have a Dream”speech.After the march, King and other civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy and Vice-PresidentLyndon B. Johnsonin the White House. U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorizes theFBIto wiretap Kings home phone. King is named “Man of the Year” byTime Magazine. King meetsMalcolm Xin Washington, D.C. for the first and only time. King’s bookWhy We Cant Waitis published. King is arrested and jailed for demanding service at a white-only restaurant inSt. Augustine, Florida. After King criticizes the FBIs failure to protect civil rights workers, the agencys directorJ. Edgar Hooverdenounces King as “the most notorious liar in the country.” A week later he states that SCLC is “spearheaded byCommunistsand moral degenerates.” King meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the Justice Department. King receives theNobel Peace Prizeat a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. He declares that “every penny” of the $54,000 award will be used in the ongoing civil rights struggle. The King family moves to their new home at 234 Sunset Avenue in Atlanta. In an event that will become known as “Bloody Sunday,” voting rights marchers are beaten at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as they attempt to march to Montgomery. King,James Forman, andJohn Lewislead civil rights marchers from Selma to Montgomeryafter a U.S. District judge upholds the right of demonstrators to conduct an orderly march. King publicly opposes theVietnam Warat a mass rally at the Ninth Annual Convention of SCLC in Birmingham. King and his wife move into an apartment at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue inChicagoto draw attention to the city’s poor housing conditions. In Chicago, King meets Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. King,Floyd McKissickof CORE, andStokely Carmichaelof SNCC resumeJames Merediths “March Against Fear” from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi, after Meredith was shot and wounded near Memphis. King delivers “Beyond Vietnam” to a gathering ofClergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnamat Riverside Church in New York City. He demands that the U.S. take new initiatives to end the war. Kings bookWhere Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?is published. King leads a march of six thousand protesters in support ofstriking sanitation workers in Memphis. The march descends into violence and looting, and King is rushed from the scene. King returns to Memphis, determined to lead a peaceful march. During an evening rally at Mason Temple in Memphis, King delivers his final speech,”Ive Been to the Mountaintop.” King isshot and killedwhile standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. King is buried in Atlanta.

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September 21, 2016   Posted in: Martin Luther King  Comments Closed

Biografia de Martin Luther King – biografiasyvidas.com

(Martin Luther King Jr.; Atlanta, 1929 – Memphis, 1968) Pastor baptista estadounidense, defensor de los derechos civiles. La larga lucha de los norteamericanos de raza negra por alcanzar la plenitud de derechos conoci desde 1955 una aceleracin en cuyo liderazgo iba a destacar muy pronto el joven pastor Martin Luther King. Su accin no violenta, inspirada en el ejemplo de Gandhi, moviliz a una porcin creciente de la comunidad afroamericana hasta culminar en el verano de 1963 en la histrica marcha sobre Washington, que congreg a 250.000 manifestantes. Martin Luther King All, al pie del Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King pronunci el ms clebre y conmovedor de sus esplndidos discursos, conocido por la frmula que encabezaba la visin de un mundo justo: I have a dream (Tengo un sueo). Pese a las detenciones y agresiones policiales o racistas, el movimiento por la igualdad civil fue arrancando sentencias judiciales y decisiones legislativas contra la segregacin racial, y obtuvo el aval del premio Nobel de la Paz concedido a King en 1964. Lamentablemente, un destino funesto parece arrastrar a los apstoles de la no violencia: al igual que su maestro Gandhi, Martin Luther King cay asesinado cuatro aos despus. Biografa Hijo de un ministro baptista, Martin Luther King estudi teologa en la Universidad de Boston. Desde joven tom conciencia de la situacin de segregacin social y racial en que vivan los negros de su pas, y en especial los de los estados sureos. Convertido en pastor baptista, en 1954 se hizo cargo de una iglesia en la ciudad de Montgomery, Alabama. Con su esposa, Coretta Scott, y su primera hija (1956) Muy pronto dio muestras de su carisma y de su firme decisin de luchar por la defensa de los derechos civiles con mtodos pacficos, inspirndose en la figura de Mahatma Gandhi y en la teora de la desobediencia civil de Henry David Thoreau. En agosto de 1955 una humilde modista negra, Rosa Parks, fue detenida y multada por sentarse en la seccin reservada para blancos de un autobs; King dirigi un masivo boicot de ms de un ao contra la segregacin en los autobuses municipales. La fama de Martin Luther King se extendi rpidamente por todo el pas y enseguida asumi la direccin del movimiento pacifista estadounidense, primero a travs de la Southern Cristian Leadership Conference y ms tarde del Congress of Racial Equality. Asimismo, como miembro de la Asociacin para el Progreso de la Gente de Color, abri otro frente para lograr mejoras en sus condiciones de vida. En 1960 aprovech una sentada espontnea de estudiantes negros en Birmingham, Alabama, para iniciar una campaa de alcance nacional. En esta ocasin, Martin Luther King fue encarcelado y posteriormente liberado por la intercesin de John Fitgerald Kennedy, entonces candidato a la presidencia de Estados Unidos, pero logr para los negros la igualdad de acceso a las bibliotecas, los comedores y los estacionamientos. En el verano de 1963, su lucha alcanz uno de sus momentos culminantes al encabezar una gigantesca marcha sobre Washington en la que participaron unas 250.000 personas, ante las cuales pronunci el discurso hoy titulado I have a dream (Tengo un sueo), una bellsima alocucin en favor de la paz y la igualdad entre los seres humanos. King y otros representantes de organizaciones antirracistas fueron recibidos por el presidente Kennedy, quien se comprometi a agilizar su poltica contra el segregacionismo en las escuelas y en la cuestin del desempleo, que afectaba de modo especial a la comunidad negra. Martin Luther King se dirige a la multitud en la marcha sobre Washington (1963) No obstante, ni las buenas intenciones del presidente, quien morira asesinado meses ms tarde, ni el vigor tico del mensaje de Martin Luther King, premio Nobel de la Paz en 1964, parecan suficientes para contener el avance de los grupos nacionalistas de color contrarios a la integracin y favorables a la violencia, como Poder Negro, Panteras Negras y Musulmanes Negros. La permeabilidad de los colectivos de color (sobre todo de los que vivan en los guetos de Nueva York y de otros estados del norte) a la influencia de estos grupos violentos pona en peligro el ncleo del mensaje de King, el pacifismo. En marzo de 1965 encabez una manifestacin de miles de defensores de los derechos civiles que recorrieron casi un centenar de kilmetros, desde Selma, donde se haban producido actos de violencia racial, hasta Montgomery. La lucha de Martin Luther King tuvo un final trgico: el 4 de abril de 1968 fue asesinado en Memphis por James Earl Ray, un delincuente comn de raza blanca. Mientras se celebraban sus funerales en la iglesia Edenhaser de Atlanta, una ola de violencia se extendi por todo el pas. Ray, detenido por la polica, se reconoci autor del asesinato y fue condenado con pruebas circunstanciales. Aos ms tarde se retract de su declaracin y, con el apoyo de la familia King, pidi la reapertura del caso y la vista de un nuevo juicio. Obra e ideario Martin Luther King entendi como una condicin esencial de la dignidad humana la igualdad racial, la cual se hallaba por otra parte legitimada, en el plano poltico, por los principios de la democracia norteamericana (de la cual siempre se declar partidario), y en el plano moral, por los principios religiosos. En consecuencia, la accin destinada a la conquista de los propios derechos no deba ser considerada jams como subversiva ni revolucionaria. King no proclamaba la violacin de la ley, sino que sostena que no pueden obedecerse leyes injustas, porque stas se oponen a la ley moral. Sealaba el camino del amor en contraposicin a la inactividad de los negros pasivos y al odio exasperado de los nacionalistas. Y se dola de no haber sido ayudado y comprendido por la iglesia blanca. En este sentido, King adapt y desarroll el concepto de Gandhi de la no violencia, que supo aplicar de forma creativa en una serie de campaas antisegregacionistas que le convirtieron en el lder ms prestigioso del movimiento americano para los derechos civiles, le valieron la concesin en 1964 del premio Nobel de la Paz y provocaron su asesinato a manos de un racista fantico en 1968. Tras su fallecimiento, el movimiento negro estadounidense emprendi un camino ms abiertamente revolucionario y violento, alejado de la inspiracin cristiana y liberal de King, cuya memoria, a pesar de todo, sigue siendo venerada y amada por las masas de desheredados de su raza. El mismo ao del Nobel, el presidente Lyndon Johnson, sucesor de Kennedy tras el magnicidio, promulg la ley de derechos civiles, que consagraba la igualdad de todos los ciudadanos. Segn King, los negros tenan que abandonar su abstracta neutralidad poltica para estrechar alianzas electorales y apoyar a los candidatos dignos de confianza, porque “la influencia de los negros en el poder poltico es importante”. Solamente entonces se alcanzara la verdadera meta de la libertad, porque el destino de los negros est unido al de toda Amrica. Sus principios quedaron expresados, adems de en la clebre Carta desde la prisin de Birmingham (1963, publicada por la revista francesa Esprit en 1964), en numerosas obras entre las que destacan La fuerza de amar (Strength to Love, 1965) y El clarn de la conciencia (The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968), en las que a menudo su prosa, inspirada en la tradicin bblica del protestantismo anglosajn, alcanza momentos de altsima emocin y humanidad. Mencin aparte merece Por qu no podemos esperar (Why We Can’t Wait, 1964), en la medida en que la exposicin de su credo poltico se alterna en esta obra con una apasionada evocacin de los hechos del verano de 1963 (vividos por el propio autor como protagonista) de gran valor como testimonio histrico. El libro es la historia de la liberacin de un pueblo, obtenida mediante el empleo de “un arma potente y justa… que corta sin herir y ennoblece al hombre que la empua”: la no violencia. I have a dream Pese al valor de su obra escrita, ninguno de sus textos despert la universal admiracin del ms famoso de sus discursos: el que pronunci el 28 de agosto de 1963 ante los 250.000 integrantes de la marcha sobre Washington, al pie del Monumento a Abraham Lincoln, el presidente que, un siglo antes, haba abolido la esclavitud: “Hace cien aos, un gran americano, bajo cuya sombra simblica nos encontramos hoy, firm la Proclamacin de la Emancipacin. Este trascendental decreto apareci como un gran fanal de esperanza para millones de esclavos que haban sido marcados con el fuego de una flagrante injusticia. Lleg como el amanecer jubiloso de la larga noche de su cautividad. Pero cien aos despus, la Amrica de color sigue sin ser libre.” I have a dream [fragmento]. Subtitulado en espaol. Washington, 28 de agosto de 1963. Considerado una obra maestra de la oratoria, el nombre con que este discurso es conocido procede de su parte central, en la que reiterando la frmula I have a dream (Tengo un sueo), Martin Luther King eleva a la condicin de ideal la simple materializacin de la igualdad: “Sueo que mis cuatro hijos pequeos vivirn algn da en una nacin donde no se les juzgar por el color de su piel sino por las cualidades de su carcter”. Valioso tanto como condensada expresin de sus principios como por su impresionante altura emotiva, su vigencia sigue conmoviendo ms de medio siglo despus.

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September 2, 2016   Posted in: Martin Luther King  Comments Closed

Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs settle dispute over Nobel …

Martin Luther King Jr.’s traveling Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal will be released to his estate, according to a consent order signed by a judge on Monday, ending a years-long ownership dispute between the civil rights leader’s three children. The dispute began in January 2014, when Mr. King’s two sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King, voted 2-1 against their sister Bernice King to sell the items, which were in Bernice’s possession, to an unnamed private buyer. At the time, Bernice said she could not consider doing so, as her father’s heirlooms were “sacred.” “There is no justification for selling either of these sacred items,” she wrote in a statement. “They are priceless and should never be exchanged for money in the marketplace. While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them … reveals a desperation beyond comprehension.” About a week after the vote, the estate, of which King’s three children are the sole shareholders and directors, filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order her to surrender them. On Monday, the same day a trial to determine the ownership of the Nobel medal was scheduled to begin,Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney signed an order submitted by both sides dismissing the suit. The order turned the keys to the safe deposit box holding the Bible and medal over to Martin, the chairman of the estate. The owner of the Bible had already been determined, as Judge McBurney ruled last month that it belonged to the estate. The three siblings had a long history of taking each other to court, even before the dispute over the Bible and medal, as The Christian Science Monitor’s Cristina Maza reported in January 2015: The dispute is far from the first legal battle the King siblings have entered into. In August 2013, which was the 50th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, his estate demanded that Ms. King cease to use her father’s image, likeness, and memorabilia in her role as CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Lawyers in the case also declared that the center was storing some of Dr. Kings personal effects in an unacceptable manner. A ruling on that case is still pending. In a previous lawsuit, Ms. King and Martin Luther King III sued Dexter King. The two siblings claimed that their brother had taken cash from the estate of their late mother, Coretta Scott King, to launch a private business venture. For many, the clashes between the offspring of an inspirational historical figure have been rather disheartening. The surprising settlement signed Monday, the chances of which had been deemed “fair/poor” in a court filing last week, ended a long and arduous legal process. The dispute was originally set to go to trial in February 2015, until Judge McBurney halted all action in the case in an attempt to reach a resolution outside of court. In May, lawyers for both sides reported that they had almost reached an agreement, leading McBurney to order mediation. Typically, Judge McBurney said at a hearing in June, he would not allow such long delays in a case, but made an exception because of the importance of the items. The Bible in question, which King used while traveling, was used by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration in January 2013. The civil rights leader was awarded the Nobel medal in 1964, four years before his assassination. This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press.

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August 20, 2016   Posted in: Martin Luther King  Comments Closed

Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs settle Nobel medal dispute …

By David Beasley | ATLANTA ATLANTA Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs have agreed to end their legal fight over who owns the slain civil rights leader’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal, according to a court document filed on Monday that did not disclose if the item will be sold. A trial to settle the years-long dispute had been set to start in Atlanta on Monday. It would have pitted King’s two sons against his surviving daughter, who were at odds over whether to sell the medal. In a joint statement from the siblings, the family credited former U.S. President Jimmy Carter with guiding them to the confidential agreement. The three siblings serve as directors of a corporation formed to manage the estate of King, who had no will when he was assassinated in 1968 at age 39 by a white supremacist in Memphis, Tennessee. Martin Luther King III and Dexter King voted in January 2014 to sell the medal and a Bible their father carried during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Bernice King objected to a sale, calling the heirlooms “sacred” to the family. Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney had ordered the items to be kept in a court-controlled safe deposit box pending the outcome of the lawsuit. The judge on Monday signed an order in which the parties asked for the suit to be dismissed and agreed the keys to the box should be given to Martin Luther King III, who serves as chairman of the estate board. The judge said in court he did not know any further details of the settlement. “While Bernice has always believed that the Peace Prize and Bible should not be sold, I am grateful that she has agreed not to stand in the way of the Estates decisions about how to handle the items,” Carter said in a statement. “As in any mediation, compromises were required, and I am glad that the parties resolved the issues in the interest of the greater good and their parents legacy, the former president added. Last month, McBurney ruled that the Bible, which Barack Obama, America’s first black president, used at his second inaugural in 2013, belonged to the estate. (Editing by Alan Crosby and Peter Cooney)

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August 16, 2016   Posted in: Martin Luther King  Comments Closed

Martin Luther King Jr. > Quotes – Goodreads

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they cant stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes theyll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. Thats love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. Theres something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”) Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

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July 16, 2016   Posted in: Martin Luther King  Comments Closed

Martin Luther King Day in the United States

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States. Martin Luther King Day is a relatively new federal holiday and there are few long standing traditions. It is seen as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. Some educational establishments mark the day by teaching their pupils or students about the work of Martin Luther King and the struggle against racial segregation and racism. In recent years, federal legislation has encouraged Americans to give some of their time on this day as volunteers in citizen action groups. Martin Luther King Day, also known as Martin Luther Kings birthday and Martin Luther King Jr Day, is combined with other days in different states. For example, it is combined with Civil Rights Day in Arizona and New Hampshire, while it is observed together with Human Rights Day in Idaho. It is also a day that is combined with Robert E. Lees birthday in some states. The day is known as Wyoming Equality Day in the state of Wyoming. Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday, but has slightly different names in some states. Non-essential Government departments are closed, as are many corporations. Some schools and colleges close but others stay open and teach their students about the life and work of Martin Luther King. Small companies, such as grocery stores and restaurants tend to be open, although a growing number are choosing to close on this day. Some compensate by opening on Washington’s Birthday instead. Recent federal legislation encourages Americans to give some of their time on Martin Luther King Day as volunteers in citizen action groups. Public transit systems may or may not operate on their regular schedule. Martin Luther King was an important civil rights activist. He was a leader in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. His most famous address was the “I Have A Dream” speech. He was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968. In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King died, a campaign was started for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions lead the campaign for the federal holiday. It was endorsed in 1976. Following support from the musician Stevie Wonder with his single “Happy Birthday” and a petition with six million signatures, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although it was not observed in all states until the year 2000. In 1990, the Wyoming legislature designated Martin Luther King Jr/Wyoming Equality Day as a legal holiday. List of dates for other years

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July 7, 2016   Posted in: Martin Luther King  Comments Closed

Martin Luther King, Jr. | Biography & Facts | Britannica.com

Alternative titles: Michael Luther King, Jr.; MLK Jr. Martin Luther King, Jr.American religious leader and civil-rights activist January 15, 1929 Atlanta, Georgia April 4, 1968 Memphis, Tennessee Martin Luther King, Jr., original name Michael King, Jr. (born January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.died April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee) Baptist minister and social activist 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 movements success in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States. King rose to national prominence as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which promoted nonviolent tactics, such as the massive March on Washington (1963), to achieve civil rights. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King came from a comfortable middle-class family steeped in the tradition of the Southern black ministry: both his father and maternal grandfather were Baptist preachers. His parents were college-educated, and Kings father had succeeded his father-in-law as pastor of the prestigious Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The family lived on Auburn Avenue, otherwise known as Sweet Auburn, the bustling black Wall Street, home to some of the countrys largest and most prosperous black businesses and black churches in the years before the civil rights movement. Young Martin received a solid education and grew up in a loving extended family. This secure upbringing, however, did not prevent King from experiencing the prejudices then common in the South. He never forgot the time when, at about age six, one of his white playmates announced that his parents would no longer allow him to play with King, because the children were now attending segregated schools. Dearest to King in these early years was his maternal grandmother, whose death in 1941 left him shaken and unstable. Upset because he had learned of her fatal heart attack while attending a parade without his parents permission, the 12-year-old King attempted suicide by jumping from a second-story window. In 1944, at age 15, King entered Morehouse College in Atlanta under a special wartime program intended to boost enrollment by admitting promising high-school students like King. Before beginning college, however, King spent the summer on a tobacco farm in Connecticut; it was his first extended stay away from home and his first substantial experience of race relations outside the segregated South. He was shocked by how peacefully the races mixed in the North. Negroes and whites go [to] the same church, he noted in a letter to his parents. I never [thought] that a person of my race could eat anywhere. This summer experience in the North only deepened Kings growing hatred of racial segregation. At Morehouse, King favoured studies in medicine and law, but these were eclipsed in his senior year by a decision to enter the ministry, as his father had urged. Kings mentor at Morehouse was the college president, Benjamin Mays, a social gospel activist whose rich oratory and progressive ideas had left an indelible imprint on Kings father. Committed to fighting racial inequality, Mays accused the African American community of complacency in the face of oppression, and he prodded the black church into social action by criticizing its emphasis on the hereafter instead of the here and now; it was a call to service that was not lost on the teenage King. He graduated from Morehouse in 1948. King spent the next three years at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he became acquainted with Mohandas Gandhis philosophy of nonviolence as well as with the thought of contemporary Protestant theologians. He earned a bachelor of divinity degree in 1951. Renowned for his oratorical skills, King was elected president of Crozers student body, which was composed almost exclusively of white students. As a professor at Crozer wrote in a letter of recommendation for King, The fact that with our student body largely Southern in constitution a colored man should be elected to and be popular [in] such a position is in itself no mean recommendation. From Crozer, King went to Boston University, where, in seeking a firm foundation for his own theological and ethical inclinations, he studied mans relationship to God and received a doctorate (1955) for a dissertation titled A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman. King, Martin Luther, Jr.; Montgomery, Alabama Bettmann/CorbisWhile 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, Alabama, slightly more than a year when the citys small group of civil rights advocates decided to contest racial segregation on that citys public bus system following the incident on December 1, 1955, in which Rosa Parks, an African American woman, had refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger and as a consequence was arrested for violating the citys segregation law. 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 it was thought that his family connections and professional standing would enable him to find another pastorate should the boycott fail. 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 country a fresh voice, a skillful rhetoric, an inspiring personality, and in time a dynamic new doctrine of civil struggle. Although Kings home was dynamited and his familys safety threatened, he continued to lead the boycott until, one year and a few weeks later, the citys buses were desegregated. 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 race-related issues with religious and civil rights leaders at home and abroad. In February 1959 he and his party were warmly received by Indias Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and others; as the result of a brief discussion with followers of Gandhi about the Gandhian concepts of peaceful noncompliance (satyagraha), King became increasingly convinced that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. King also looked to Africa for inspiration. The liberation struggle in Africa has been the greatest single international influence on American Negro students, he wrote. Frequently I hear them say that if their African brothers can break the bonds of colonialism, surely the American Negro can break Jim Crow. In 1960 King and his family moved to his native city of Atlanta, where he became co-pastor 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 Georgias flouting of legal forms, and the failure of Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower to intervene. King was released only upon the intercession of Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedyan action so widely publicized that it was felt to have contributed substantially to Kennedys slender election victory eight days later. Johnson, Lyndon B.: meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr.Yoichi Okamoto/Lyndon B. Johnson Library PhotoIn the years from 1960 to 1965, Kings influence reached its zenith. Handsome, eloquent, and doggedly determined, King quickly caught the attention of the news media, particularly of the producers of that budding medium of social changetelevision. He understood the power of television to nationalize and internationalize the struggle for civil rights, and his well-publicized tactics of active nonviolence (sit-ins, protest marches) aroused the devoted allegiance of many African Americans and liberal whites in all parts of the country, as well as support from the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. But there were also notable failures, as in Albany, Georgia (196162), when King and his colleagues failed to achieve their desegregation goals for public parks and other facilities. In Birmingham, Alabama, in the spring of 1963, Kings 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 African Americans 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? Isnt 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. I Have A Dream: King delivering his I Have a Dream speech in Washington, 1963Francis MillerTime Life Pictures/Getty ImagesNear the end of the Birmingham campaign, in an effort to draw together the multiple forces for peaceful change and to dramatize to the country 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 August 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 Kings famous I Have a Dream speech, in which he emphasized his faith that all men, someday, would be brothers. Johnson, Lyndon B.: signing the Civil Rights ActLyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum; photograph, Cecil StoughtonThe 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 Peace Prize in Oslo in December. I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind, said King in his acceptance speech. I refuse to accept the idea that the isness of mans present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal oughtness that forever confronts him. Martin Luther King, Jr.Bettmann/CorbisThe first signs of opposition to Kings tactics from within the civil rights movement surfaced during the March 1965 demonstrations in Selma, Alabama, which were aimed at dramatizing the need for a federal voting-rights law that would provide legal support for the enfranchisement of African Americans 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 was 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 to kneel 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 authoritiesvigorously but not entirely convincingly deniedclung 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, Kings religious philosophy of nonviolence was increasingly questioned. The rioting in the Watts district of Los Angeles in August 1965 demonstrated the depth of unrest among urban African Americans. 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 African Americans, liberals, and labour organizations, calling for various measures to enforce the existing laws and regulations with respect to housing. But this agreement was to have little effect; the impression remained that Kings Chicago campaign was nullified partly because of the opposition of that citys powerful mayor, Richard J. Daley, and partly because of the unexpected complexities of Northern racism. Malcolm X: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (digital file no. 3d01847u)In Illinois and Mississippi alike, King was now being challenged and even publicly derided by young black-power enthusiasts. Whereas King stood for patience, middle-class respectability, and a measured approach to social change, the sharp-tongued, blue jean-clad young urban radicals stood for confrontation and immediate change. In the latters eyes, the suit-wearing, calm-spoken civil rights leader was irresponsibly passive and old beyond his years (King was in his 30s)more a member of the other side of the generation gap than their revolutionary leader. Malcolm X went so far as to call Kings tactics criminal: Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. In the face of mounting criticism, King broadened his approach to include concerns other than racism. 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 U.S. 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 economic problems such as poverty and unemployment. It was a version of populismseeking 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. Meanwhile, the strain and changing dynamics of the civil rights movement had taken a toll on King, especially in the final months of his life. Im frankly tired of marching. Im tired of going to jail, he admitted in 1968. Living every day under the threat of death, I feel discouraged every now and then and feel my works in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again. riot: building in Washington, D.C., destroyed during riots following King assassinationLibrary of Congress, Washington, D.C. (digital file no. 03132u)Kings plans for a Poor Peoples March to Washington were interrupted in the spring of 1968 by a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of a strike by that citys sanitation workers. In the opinion of many of his followers and biographers, King seemed to sense his end was near. As King prophetically told a crowd at the Mason Temple Church in Memphis on April 3, the night before he died, Ive seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. The next day, while standing on the second-story balcony of the Lorraine Motel, where he and his associates were staying, King was killed by a snipers bullet. The killing sparked riots and disturbances in over 100 cities across the country. On March 10, 1969, the accused assassin, a white man, James Earl Ray, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Ray later recanted his confession, claiming lawyers had coerced him into confessing and that he was the victim of a conspiracy. In a surprising turn of events, members of the King family eventually came to Rays defense. Kings son Dexter met with the reputed assassin in March 1997 and then publicly joined Rays plea for a reopening of his case. When Ray died on April 23, 1998, Coretta Scott King declared, America will never have the benefit of Mr. Rays trial, which would have produced new revelations about the assassinationas well as establish the facts concerning Mr. Rays innocence. Although the U.S. government conducted several investigations into the murder of King and each time concluded that Ray was the sole assassin, the killing remains a matter of controversy. play_circle_outlineSocrates; King, Martin Luther, Jr.Courtesy of Northwestern University (A Britannica Publishing Partner)In the years after his death, King remained the most widely known African American leader of his era. His stature as a major historical figure was confirmed by the successful campaign to establish a national holiday in his honour in the United States and by the building of a King memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., near the Lincoln Memorial, the site of his famous I Have a Dream speech in 1963. Many states and municipalities have enacted King holidays, authorized public statues and paintings of him, and named streets, schools, and other entities for him. These efforts to honour King have focused more on his role as a civil rights advocate than on his controversial speeches, during his final year, condemning American intervention in Vietnam and calling for the Poor Peoples Campaign. The King holiday campaign overcame forceful opposition, with critics citing FBI surveillance files suggesting that King was an adulterous radical influenced by communists. Although the release of these files during the 1970s under the Freedom of Information Act fueled the public debate over Kings legacy, the extensive archives that now exist document Kings life and thought and have informed numerous serious studies offering balanced and comprehensive perspectives. Two major books featuring KingDavid J. Garrows Bearing the Cross (1986) and Taylor Branchs Parting the Waters (1988)won Pulitzer Prizes. Subsequent books and articles reaffirmed Kings historical significance while portraying him as a complex figure: flawed, fallible, and limited in his control over the mass movements with which he was associated, yet also a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social justice through nonviolent means. Although the idea of a King national holiday did not gain significant congressional support until the late 1970s, efforts to commemorate Kings life began almost immediately after his assassination. In 1968 Rep. John Conyers of Michigan introduced a King holiday bill. The idea gradually began to attract political support once the newly formed Congressional Black Caucus included the holiday in its reform agenda. Coretta Scott King also played a central role in building popular support for the King holiday campaign while serving as founding president of the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change (later renamed the King Center), which became one of the major archives of Kings papers. Despite the overall conservative trend in American politics in the 1980s, which might have been expected to work against recognition of the efforts of a controversial activist, King holiday advocates gained political support by portraying him as a symbol of the countrys progress in race relations. Musician Stevie Wonder contributed to the campaign by writing and recording Happy Birthday, a popular tribute to King. In 1983 Coretta Scott King and Stevie Wonder participated in the 20th Anniversary March on Washington, which drew a bigger crowd than the original march. After the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of the King holiday bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy, Pres. Ronald Reagan put aside his initial doubts and signed the legislation on November 3, 1983, establishing Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, to be celebrated annually on the third Monday in January. Coretta Scott King also succeeded in gaining congressional approval to establish a King Federal Holiday Commission to plan annual celebrations, beginning January 20, 1986, that would encourage Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King. Celebration of the King national holiday did not end contention over Kings legacy, but his status as an American icon became more widely accepted over time. The revelation during the early 1990s that King had plagiarized some of his academic writings and the occasional controversies involving his heirs did little to undermine recognition of Kings enduring impact on the country. Even before the first King national holiday, members of Kings fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, had proposed a permanent memorial in Washington, D.C. By the end of the 20th century, that proposal had secured governmental approval for the site on the Tidal Basin, near the Mall. In 2000 an international design competition ended with the selection of a proposal by ROMA Design Group. To build and maintain the memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation eventually raised more than $100 million. Commemorations of Kings life were also held in other countries, and in 2009 a congressional delegation traveled to India to mark the 50th anniversary of Kings pilgrimage to what he called the Land of Gandhi. As with the lives of other major historical figures, Kings life has been interpreted in new ways by successive generations of scholars, many of whom have drawn attention to the crucial role of local black leaders in the African American protest movements of the 1950s and 60s. Recognizing that grassroots activists such as Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth, and others prepared the way for Kings rise to national prominence, biographers and historians have questioned the view that Southern black protest movements relied on Kings charismatic guidance. Nonetheless, studies of King continue to acknowledge his distinctive leadership role. For example, though he often downplayed his contribution to the Montgomery bus boycott, Kings inspirational leadership and his speeches helped to transform a local protest over bus seating into a historically important event. More generally, studies of King have suggested that his most significant contribution to the modern African American freedom struggle was to link black aspirations to transcendent, widely shared democratic and Christian ideals. While helping grassroots leaders mobilize African Americans for sustained mass struggles, he inspired participants to believe that their cause was just and consistent with traditional American egalitarian values. King also appealed to the consciences of all Americans, thus building popular support for civil rights reform. His strategy of emphasizing nonviolent protest and interracial cooperation enabled him to fight effectively against the Southern system of legalized racial segregation and discrimination, but it also proved inadequate during his final years as he sought to overcome racial and economic problems that were national in scope. Corrections? Updates? Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your Feedback.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes (Author of The Autobiography of …

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they cant stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes theyll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. Thats love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. Theres something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”) Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Biographical Sketch – Martin Luther King, Jr. – Research …

Birth and Family Martin Luther King, Jr. was born at noon Tuesday, January 15, 1929, at the family home, 501 Auburn Avenue, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Charles Johnson was the attending physician. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the first son and second child born to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., and Alberta Williams King. Other children born to the Kings were Christine King Farris and the late Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams King. Martin Luther King’s maternal grandparents were the Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, second pastor of Ebenezer Baptist, and Jenny Parks Williams. His paternal grandparents, James Albert and Delia King, were sharecroppers on a farm in Stockbridge, Georgia. He married the former Coretta Scott, younger daughter of Obadiah and Bernice McMurray Scott of Marion, Alabama on June 18, 1953. The marriage ceremony took place on the lawn of the Scott’s home in Marion. The Reverend King, Sr., performed the service, with Mrs. Edythe Bagley, the sister of Mrs. King, maid of honor, and the Reverend A.D. King, the brother of Martin Luther King, Jr., best man. Four children were born to Dr. and Mrs. King: Yolanda Denise (November 17, 1955 Montgomery, Alabama) Martin Luther III (October 23, 1957 Montgomery, Alabama) Dexter Scott (January 30, 1961 Atlanta, Georgia) Bernice Albertine (March 28, 1963 Atlanta, Georgia) Education Martin Luther King, Jr. began his education at the Yonge Street Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. Following Yonge School, he was enrolled in David T. Howard Elementary School. He also attended the Atlanta University Laboratory School and Booker T. Washington High School. Because of his high score on the college entrance examinations in his junior year of high school, he advanced to Morehouse College without formal graduation from Booker T. Washington. Having skipped both the ninth and twelfth grades, Dr. King entered Morehouse at the age of fifteen. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in Sociology. That fall, he enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. While attending Crozer, he also studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He was elected president of the senior class and delivered the valedictory address; he won the Pearl Plafker Award for the most outstanding student; and he received the J. Lewis Crozer fellowship for graduate study at a university of his choice. He was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer in 1951. In September of 1951, Martin Luther King began doctoral studies in Systematic Theology at Boston University. He also studied at Harvard University. His dissertation,A Comparison of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Wieman, was completed in 1955, and the Ph.D. degree from Boston, a Doctorate of Philosophy in Systematic Theology, was awarded on June 5, 1955. Martin Luther King entered the Christian ministry and was ordained in February 1948 at the age of nineteen at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia. Following his ordination, he became Assistant Pastor of Ebenezer. Upon completion of his studies at Boston University, he accepted the call of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama. He was the pastor of Dexter Avenue from September 1954 to November 1959, when he resigned to move to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1960 until his death in 1968, he was co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church and President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dr. King was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. He was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization which was responsible for the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott from 1955 to 1956 (381 days). He was arrested thirty times for his participation in civil rights activities. He was a founder and president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1957 to 1968. He was also vice president of the national Sunday School and Baptist Teaching Union Congress of the National Baptist Convention. He was a member of several national and local boards of directors and served on the boards of trustees of several institutions and agencies. Dr. King was elected to membership in several learned societies including the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Speeches Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital personality of the modern era. His lectures and remarks stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation; the movements and marches he led brought significant changes in the fabric of American life; his courageous and selfless devotion gave direction to thirteen years of civil rights activities; his charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in the nation and abroad. Dr. King’s concept of somebodiness gave black and poor people a new sense of worth and dignity. His philosophy of nonviolent direct action, and his strategies for rational and non-destructive social change, galvanized the conscience of this nation and reordered its priorities. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, for example, went to Congress as a result of the Selma to Montgomery march. His wisdom, his words, his actions, his commitment, and his dreams for a new cast of life, are intertwined with the American experience. Dr. King’s speech at the march on Washington in 1963, his acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize, his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his final speech in Memphis (I’ve Been to the Mountaintop)are among his most famous. The Letter from Birmingham Jail ranks among the most important American documents. Death Dr. King was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, by James Earl Ray. James Earl Ray was arrested in London, England on June 8, 1968 and returned to Memphis, Tennessee to stand trial for the assassination of Dr. King. On March 9, 1969, before coming to trial, he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to ninety-nine years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. Dr. King had been in Memphis to help lead sanitation workers in a protest against low wages and intolerable conditions. His funeral services were held April 9, 1968, in Atlanta at Ebenezer Church and on the campus of Morehouse College, with the President of the United States proclaiming a day of mourning and flags being flown at half-staff. The area where Dr. King was entombed is located on Freedom Plaza and surrounded by the Freedom Hall Complex of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site, a 23 acre area was listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 5, 1977, and was made a National Historic Site on October 10, 1980 by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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