Martin Luther was born January 15, 1929. He attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduated from high school at the age of fifteen.
- He received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta (where his father and grandfather graduated). After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, he was awarded his B.D. in 1951.
- With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, receiving his doctorate degree in 1953.
Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation.
On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. By this time, Dr. Martin Luther King emerged as a Negro leader.
In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization
he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi.
Read the text
The last pragraph bears repeating "And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" (Today, it would be modified to include women and other religions not mentioned).
Dr. King conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Dr. King was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.
At the age of 35. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. He turned over the prize money of $54,123 to further the civil rights movement.
On the evening of 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.
In 1983, Ronald Reagan signed the bill that named the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Read his niece's words about him.
Martin Luther King quotes:
"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase."
"All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem."
From his book Strength to Love
From the March on Washington
"...And I've looked over and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man."
From his speech the day before he was assassinated
"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."