Life and Times of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the American Civil Rights Movement

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Life and Times of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the American Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 at his family

home in Atlanta, Georgia. King was an eloquent Baptist minister and

leader of the civil-rights movement in America from the Mid-1950s

until his death by assassination in 1968. King promoted non-violent

means to achieve civil-rights reform and was awarded the 1964 Nobel

Peace Prize for his efforts.

Dr. King's involvement with the civil rights movement began with the

arrest of Mrs. Rosa Parks on December 1st, 1955. Mrs. Parks, a

African-American seamstress on her way home from work, was arrested

for not giving a white bus rider her seat. Mrs. Parks was not the

first African-American to be arrested for this "crime", but she was

well known in the Montgomery African-American community.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership

Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the

now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization

he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In

the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six

million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing

wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he

wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led

a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of

the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience.

and inspiring his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", a manifesto of the

Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the

registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on

Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address,

"l Have a Dream", he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and

campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of

twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five

honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963;

and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a

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