Martin Luther King, Jr. was born at home on Tuesday, January
15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were Martin Luther, Sr. and
He was born into a world where segregation was the law. Where his
boyhood best friend, who was white, wasn't allowed to play with him
once they started school. Where black people went to separate
bathrooms, drank from separate water fountains, couldn't eat in
"white's only" restaurants, and had to give up their seats on buses if
a white person wanted it.
Martin was a very intelligent boy. He was able to enter Morehouse
College at 15 simply on the strength of his scores on the college
entrance exam taken during his junior year in High School (he skipped
9th and 12th grades). In 1948, aged 19, after graduating from
Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts, Martin was ordained as a
minister at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where his father
and grandfather were ministers. Martin felt that his calling was to
the Christian ministry and so he entered Crozer Theological Seminary.
It was while he was at Crozer that he came into contact with the
teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi had tried to free India from
British rule by means of a "peaceful revolution". Martin also read
some of Henry David Thoreau's writings. Thoreau stated that "If enough
people would follow their conscience and disobey unjust laws that
there would be a peaceful revolution".
Martin graduated from Crozer with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1951.
While he was at college, he met Coretta Scott and on June 18, 1953, on
the lawn of her parents' home in Marion, Alabama, they were married.
... middle of paper ...
...n had ever experienced.
In 1968, Martin went to Memphis, Tennessee to help out the sanitation
workers. They were protesting their deplorable wages and working
conditions. One story says that two black workers were not allowed in
the building with the white men while on break and when it started to
rain they took shelter in one of the garbage trucks. The rain shorted
out the mechanism that controlled the compactor and the men didn't
have enough time to get out of the truck - they were crushed to death.
On the morning of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the
Lorraine Motel, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assasinated by James Earl
Ray. Ray would later be caught in London, England and on March 9,
1969, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
3rd Monday in January - Martin Luther King Day
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