Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King became synonymous with the civil rights movement. He dedicated his life to addressing this situation through non-violent means until his untimely death in 1968.
He was raised by a family of preachers and became assistant to his father at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in his hometown of Atlanta. He was college educated and started his first semester at Morehouse College when he was just 15 years old.
He attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and later went on to get his PhD in theology from Boston University. While he was attending school in Boston, Martin Luther King met Coretta Scott. The two married at the home of Coretta’s parents and they raised a family of four children.
His active participation in the civil rights movement began with the Montgomery bus boycott inspired by Rosa Parks. He organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and used it to lecture on race-related topics.
Dr. King used the media to spread the word and his participation in sit-ins and protests landed him in jail on more than one occasion. One of his most profound writings came through his letter from the Birmingham jail.
In 1963, he took part in the historic March on Washington. More than 200,000 peaceful participants gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and listened as MLK Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech.
In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his unrelenting work in the civil rights movement. He led 1,500 black and white people on a march outside of Selma to bring attention to the social injustices that were going on at that time. When the group was met by a wall of state troopers, King led his group to a prayer session avoiding further confrontation with authorities.
When changes began happening in the civil rights movement, Dr. King turned his attentions to poor people and the Vietnam War. But it wasn’t long before Martin Luther King’s life came to an abrupt end when he was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee on April 4, 1968. The biography of Martin Luther King attests to the grief felt around the world with riots in over 100 cities upon hearing of his death.
Dr. Martin Luther King is known for his powerful speeches and motivating words to get people involved in facing the injustices of the day. His work is remembered and as a tribute to his life, Martin Luther King Jr. day is a federal holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday of January every year.