Quick facts about Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought not just for the equality of minorities, but for the equality of all. Rather than just kick back and relax on Martin Luther King Day, let’s take some time to learn about the man himself.
Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929. His anniversary, a federal holiday, falls on the third Monday of every January. He is the first black civilian to have his own legal holiday, by Public Law 98-144 by the 98th Congress in November 2nd 1983, and signed into law by President Ronald Regan.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia as Michael Luther King Jr. but later changed his name. King attended Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University from which both his father and grandfather graduated and went on to become a Baptist co-pastor from 1960 until his death at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
He received his doctorate in 1955 from Boston University. While studying in Boston, King met Coretta Scott and they were married in 1953. They became the parents of four children – Yolanda, Martin Luther III, Dexter, and Bernice. Throughout his life, King was a fierce advocate for civil rights and became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and accepted the leadership post for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The boycott lasted over a year and led to the Supreme Court declaring on December 21st 1956 that segregation on busses was unconstitutional. The victory of the Montgomery Bus Boycott was just a spark in King’s Civil Rights achievements. He would go on to change the United States of American forever.
Quick Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
1957 – MLK form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to fight segregation and speaks to a crowd of 15, 000 on May 17th.
1958 – MLK’s first book, Stride Towards Freedom, is published. He is later stabbed in Harlem but also meets President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
1959 – MLK visits India to study Gandhi’s nonviolence philosophy. He moves to Atlanta to direct to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and dedicates his time to civil rights.
1963 – MLK spends 11 days in jail and writes ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail.’ On June 23, he leads 125,000 people on a freedom walk in Detroit. On August 28th, with 250,000 people in attendance, he gives the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington.
July 2nd 1964 – MLK attends the signing ceremony of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the White House.
April 4th 1968 – MLK is shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee while on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
January 20th 1986 – The first MLK Day is celebrated.
2000 – MLK Day is officially celebrated by all 50 states.
‘Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’
-The end of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech