Who was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist (Christian) minister, civil rights activist, and premier leader of the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. He was an advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience, which were based upon his religious beliefs. He fought for equal rights for all Americans, the elimination of Jim Crow era segregation laws, and socio-economic equality between Black and White Americans. Fast Facts! + He was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. + He married civil rights activist Coretta Scott (later Coretta Scott King) on June 18, 1953. They eventually had four children. + He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Morehouse College in 1948 and his Ph.D. in Systemic Theology from Boston University in 1955. + In 1957, he helped find the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The SCLC helped African-American churches organize nonviolent civil rights protests throughout the South during the Civil Rights era. + King organized and led many marches for African-American civil rights (voting rights, labor rights, desegregation, and more), particularly across the Southeastern United States (e.g. in Alabama). + On August 28, 1963, during the March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr. King delivered his now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.* In essence, his speech was a vision for equality and freedom for all Americans, regardless of their skin color. + Due to King’s efforts, the US Congress passed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1965 Voting Rights Act (ending desegregation and giving Blacks the right to vote). + Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. He, however, left a lasting legacy, inciting other groups of people to fight for their freedoms and civil rights across the globe (e.g. Blacks in South Africa). + On November 2, 1983, US President Ronald Regan created the federal holiday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in honor of King’s birthday. It was first celebrated each January 20 until 1992, when President George Bush, Sr. changed the holiday observation to the 3rd Monday of each January. It was finally recognized and celebrated by all of the 50 states beginning in 2000. *The Lincoln Memorial is a statue in honor of US President Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which freed all Black slaves during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Did you know? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s advocacy for nonviolent protests was influenced by Mahatma Ghandi, the dominant leader of the Indian movement for independence. By means of nonviolence, Ghandi was able to help India gain its independence from Great Britain in 1947. Sources: http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086/videos/martin-luther-king-mini-biography-2079122252 http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/Unspeakable/MLKconExp.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MartinLutherKingJr.#Earlylifeandeducation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi https://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/emancipate.htm http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/11/us/martin-luther-king-jr-day-fast-facts/