Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. As a child, King attended segregated high schools and was later admitted to Morehouse College at the young age of 15. King studied medicine and law but eventually decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the ministry. On August 6, 1946, King had a letter published stating that black people “are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens.” King went on to earn his B.A. in 1948 from Morehouse College and his doctorate in 1955 from Boston University.
King met Correta Scott in Boston and married in June of 1953. King and his family moved to Alabama around the same time that Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat for a white passenger. This launched a bus boycott that resulted in King becoming the protest’s leader and spokesperson. On December 21, 1956 the Supreme Court ruled the separate bus laws unconstitutional and from then on Negroes and whites shared one bus.
During this time King and his family were bombarded and abused but they stayed strong and King emerged as the greatest Negro activist leader. For eleven years King traveled millions of miles, wrote five books and spoke to thousands of people. In 1964, King organized a march through Washington that concluded with his famous I Have A Dream speech where he shared his vision of equality among all men. Later that year, King was named Man of the Year by Time Magazine and was the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
King and his wife moved back to Atlanta in 1968 where he was fatally shot while supporting a workers sanitation strike. Many riots swept across the country so President Johnson declared every third of January Martin Luther King Jr. day.
Author: Falon Simmons