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Martin Luther King, Jr. Biography

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Bio

Martin Luther king was born on the 15th of January, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States of America. He died on the 4th of April, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States of America.

As a child Martin Luther King attended segregated public schools in Georgia, he graduated from high school when he was fifteen. King received his B.A. degree in Sociology from MoreHouse College in 1948. Here King was mentored by President Benjamin Mays, a civil rights leader. In 1951 King went on to graduate from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania with a B.D. degree. He continued his studies at Boston University and in 1955 he received his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology. King met and married a young woman, named Coretta Scott in 1953. They had two sons, Martin Luther III and Dexter Scott and two daughters, Yolanda Denise and Bernice Albertine. All of the children have followed the path of their father as civil rights activists.

King accepted the pastorale of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1953. King already a hard worker for civil rights had joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1955 King lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which began when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man a law known as the Jim Crow law. The boycott lasted 382 days and it was during this time that Kings house was first bombed and King was first arrested, the campaign finally ended when the United States Supreme Court decided to outlaw racial segregation on intrastate buses

After the campaign, King was highly instrumental in founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), this organization was created and based its self on his ideals of Christianity, as well as Mahatma Gandhi's philosophies of nonviolent civil disobedience. King organized many nonviolent protests which included a protest in Birmingham, Alabama, this protest caught the attention of the entire world, he called this a coalition of conscience, it was here King pushed for the registration of Negroes as voters. He had huge media coverage at this time which showed the true struggle for black equality.

Through kings leadership, the civil rights movement had become Americas single most important issue in politics. Such was the strength of the movement at this time, many civil rights were enacted into United States law with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1963 King also help direct a huge peaceful march in Washington D.C. which focused on, protection of civil rights workers from police brutality, meaningful civil rights legislation, including a law prohibiting racial discrimination in employment, an end to racial segregation in public school, a $2 minimum wage for all workers; and self-government for the District of Columbia, then governed by congressional committee. It was at the time the largest gathering of protesters in Washington's history, there were around 250,000 protesters that came from many different ethnic backgrounds. It was here that Kings most famous speech occurred, he opened with the words "I have a dream" this speech is regarded by many in America as one of the greatest speeches in the history of American oratory.

King was awarded numerous honorary degrees and recognition for his work, In 1963, he was named Man of the Year by Time magazine, in 1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, at this time he was only thirty-five, this made him the youngest person to receive this prestigious award. Also in this year the American Jewish Committee presented king with the American Liberties Medallion for his "exceptional advancement of the principles of human liberty," In 1966 he was awarded the Margaret Sanger Award for "his courageous resistance to bigotry and his lifelong dedication to the advancement of social justice and human dignity," by the Planned Parenthood® Federation of America. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to King, in 1977, by then President Jimmy Carter. According to Gallup, Martin Luther King is the second most admired person in the 20th century behind Mother Teresa.

On the 4th of April, In 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. King was in Memphis at the time to help
lead protests with striking garbage workers of that city. Unfortunately this lead to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 60 cities across America. President Lyndon Johnson declared a national day of mourning, five days later, on the day 300,000 people attended his funeral.

See also: Martin Luther King Quotes, Religious Leaders, Activists

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Martin Luther King Biography

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