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Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 to Alberta
Williams, a school teacher, and Martin Luther King, a Baptist pastor.
King became a minister at 17, and then went on to graduate from Crozer
Theological School at 22, and then continued to study at Boston
While studying King became highly interested in Christian activism,
and improving society through non-violent means. His ideas were
heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi . After his degree, however King
decided to become pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in
In 1953 he married Coretta Scott later becoming father of their four
children Yolanda Denise, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott and Bernice
In December,1955, King was elected to the Montgomery Improvement
Association, a group to lead the bus boycott . King's house was bombed
and King was arrested and jailed on charges of being connected with
the boycott. Yet King continued to preach that non-violent protests
were the answer. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of desegregation of
the buses in 1966 giving King his first victory enforcing his belief
in the power of the black community.
In 1958 King led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group
formed to promote peaceful protests against white oppression . King
led anti-segregation sit-ins and freedom rides. In 1958 King wrote
"Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story." In 1959 he travelled to
India to study Ghandi style non-violent protest . The same year, King
moved to Atlanta, where he served as president of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference. In 1[IMAGE]Text Box: Washington, 1964, â€œI have a dreamâ€963
King organized and led Black non-violent campaigns for desegregation
and better education for Blacks. Police reacted badly to the harmless
protests and King was arrested a few times , though the subsequent
nationwide publicity of police injustice in the south only proved
helped his cause.
Then, June 1964 President Kennedy passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964
which prohibits discrimination in federally funded programs and also
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Two months later King led over 250,000 protesters to Washington, where
he delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The next
years would be harder, though To his disappointment he found that
northern blacks, although not as badly affected by racism, had not
benefited from the southern protests.
In 1966 King moved to Chicago and organized protests against
employment and housing injustices against Blacks. However he found
himself not as effective as in the south and was badly beaten in an
unsuccessful non-violent protest.
When America went to war against Vietnam, King organized anti-war
protests only to be greeted with reproach on many fronts.
Then, in 1968, King turned to economic problems and organized a "Poor
Peoples" campaign, he delivered what was to be his last speech titled
"I've Been to the Mountain Top" at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated on the balcony of his room on
April 4th 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He died in St.
Joseph's Hospital from a gunshot wound to the neck aged 39.