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Martin Luther King Jr

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Martin Luther King Jr

Nearly three centuries ago, African slaves were brought to the New World and put

into slavery. They were treated more cruelly in the United States than in any

other country that had ever practiced slavery, and ever since its prohibition

African-Americans have fought oppression. Martin Luther King Jr., would aid

immensely in this fight. He was born in Atlanta Georgia in 1929. His father,

Martin Luther King Sr. Was a Baptist minister and also preached for civil rights.

By the time he was 17 he had decided to follow his fathers footsteps, so he

himself was ordained as a minister. After his graduation from the Crozer

Theological Seminary, when he began postgraduate work at Boston University, he

studied the works of Indian nationalist Mohandas Gandhi, from whom he derived

his own philosophy of nonviolent protest. He moved to Alabama to become pastor

for a Baptist church. Just after he received his Ph.D. in 1955, King was asked

to lead a bus boycott in Montgomery. It had been formed after Rosa Parks was

arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger. Throughout the 381

days which the boycott lasted, he was arrested and jailed, repeatedly threatened,

and his home was bombed. The boycott ended later that year when the Supreme

Court outlawed segregation in public transportation. This was his first victory

and alone made Dr. King a highly respected leader. When he went to India in 1959,

he studied Gandhi's principle of "Satyagraha" or nonviolent persuasion, which he

planned to use for his social protests. In the following year he decided to move

back to Atlanta to become copastor with his father. In 1963 he was back in

Birmingham, Alabama, where he led a massive civil rights campaign, organizing

drives for black voter registration, desegregation, and better education

throughout the South. During that time he led the unforgettable March on

Washington where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to millions of

viewers across the nation. The next year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

He went on to launching his first major northern campaign in Chicago. Black

Baptists were there opposing him, and a mob of club carrying Ku Klux Klan

members and Neo-Nazis met his marchers. With all that he had said and done, on

April 3, 1983 he said "I have been to the mountain top and seen the promise

land." This was the day prior to his demise. Sadly, the following day he was

shot to death in Memphis Tennessee. Nearly 500,000 of his loyal admirers

attended his funeral.
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