Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was the leader of America’s greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 into a family of pastors from the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He later served as the co-pastor of this church until his death by assassination on April 4, 1968. January 18 is an annual holiday in which the United States remembers Martin Luther King, Jr. and all his contributions to the civil rights movement.
MLK, Jr. had many accomplishments in his life and the United States is forever grateful for his courage to enact change. He attended segregated public schools in Georgia and graduated from high school at the age of fifteen. He received a B.A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. He was awarded his B.D of theological studies after three years at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class. King completed a residence at Boston University for a doctorate and received his degree in 1955. In Boston, he met Coretta Scott whom he married and raised 4 children with.
In 1954, King became pastor of a Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL. and was an executive committee member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He accepted the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration which was a boycott that lasted over a year. On December 21, 1956, the Supreme Court declared segregation on buses as unlawful and for the first time Negroes and whites rode buses as equals. King suffered great distress throughout the boycott as he was arrested, his home bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but he still emerged as a major Negro leader.
In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization that provides leadership for the civil rights movement. King used the principles of Christianity and techniques from Gandhi for this organization. From 1957-1968, King spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appeared wherever there was injustice and protests while also authoring five books. Time magazine named him Man of the Year in 1963.
King led massive peaceful protests for Negro rights such as the right to vote but also for poverty and capitalism. A famous peaceful march was in Washington, D.C., where he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream”. King worked with several Presidents but his hard work was not without sacrifice. he was arrested on many occasions and assaulted at least four times. He was awarded five honorary degrees and became the symbolic leader of American blacks and a world figure.
King was a gracious man. At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. King gave his prize money, $54,123, towards the civil rights movement. On April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated. Riots
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in cities and states throughout the United States beginning in 1971. The holiday was enacted at the federal level by legislation signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor. Everyone of all ages can celebrate this holiday by learning more about King and his contributions. To learn more you can also visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site Visitors Center,the official memorial dedicated in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in Atlanta. The visitors center includes exhibits illustrating his life and teachings as well as the King Center’s Library, Archives, tomb, his birth home, gift shop and other facilities. Admission and parking are free. Most of the park is self-guided. Registration is needed to tour the Birth Home of Dr. King.
Source: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/biographical/; Wikipedia
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