1929 - Born on January 15th in Atlanta, Georgia.
1935 - At about age six, when one of his white playmates announced that his parents would no longer allow him to play with King, because the children were now attending segregated schools.
1941 - His maternal grandmother, whose death left him shaken and unstable. Upset because he had learned of her fatal heart attack while attending a parade without his parents' permission, the 12-year-old Martin attempted suicide by jumping from a second-story window.
1944 - At age 15, King entered Morehouse College in Atlanta under a special wartime program intended to boost enrollment by admitting promising high-school students like him.
1947 - He was ordained Baptist minister.
1948 - King graduated from Morehouse.
1951 - King spent the next three years at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he became acquainted with Mohandas Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence as well as with the thought of contemporary Protestant theologians and earned a bachelor of divinity degree.
1953 - While in Boston, King met Coretta Scott, a native Alabamian who was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. They were married and had four children.
1954 - He became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
1955 - After arrest of Rosa Parks, led 382-day boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama successfully leading to court injunction ordering bus desegregation.
1957 - Helped found Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). His leadership was fundamental to that movement's success in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States.
- He participated in Prayer Pilgrimage at Lincoln Memorial.
- Received the Spingarn Medal.
1958 - Wrote "Stride Toward Freedom".
1959 - He and his party were warmly received by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru; as the result of a brief discussion with followers of Gandhi about the Gandhian concepts of peaceful noncompliance (satyagraha), King became increasingly convinced that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.
1960 - King moved to his native city of Atlanta, where he became co-pastor with his father of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
1961-1962 - King and his colleagues failed to achieve their desegregation goals for public parks and other facilities. in Albany, Georgia.
1963 - Wrote nonviolence manifesto "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" after his arrest at demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama.
- He helped organize a march on Washington and delivered "I Have a Dream" speech.
1964 - Wrote "Why We Can't Wait".
- A Nobel Prize in Peace winner.
1965 - Organized and led march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery but was forced to turn back at Edmund Pettus bridge outside Selma, but shortly thereafter successfully led 5-day march as planned.
1966 - Began attempts to desegregate Chicago.
- He had condemned the war in Viet Nam, but official outrage from Washington and strenuous opposition within the black community itself had caused him to relent.
1967 - At Riverside Church in New York City on April 4th and again on the 15th at a mammoth peace rally in that city, he committed himself irrevocably to opposing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
1968 - Visited Memphis to support labor movement among city sanitation workers, but assassinated by sniper while standing on balcony of Lorraine Motel.
- King was only 39 at the time of his death—a leader in mid passage who never wavered in his insistence that nonviolence must remain the essential tactic of the movement nor in his faith that all Americans would some day attain racial and economic justice. Though he likely will remain a subject of controversy, his eloquence, self-sacrifice, and courageous role as a social leader have secured his ranking among the most influential men of recent history.
Martin Luther King, Jr was born Michael King Jr to Reverend Michael King Sr and Alberta Williams King. His father changed his own name to Martin Luther King and his son's name to Martin Luther King, Jr when his family went to Europe in 1934 and travelled to Germany.
The name change was in honor of Martin Luther, the German Priest who started the Protestant Reformation in 1517. King entered Morehouse College at 15, having skipped the ninth and the twelfth grades. He also studied at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard University.
With help from American Friends Service Committee , a Quaker group, Dr King travelled to India in 1959 and visited the birthplace of Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi. This trip greatly inspired his commitment to non violent resistence and civil disobedience. Dr King was very influential in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. He led protests and boycotts in many southern (and even a few northern) cities to gain attention to racial inequality.
He was met with great opposition from local government, police and sheriff departments. Dr King was arrested at least 30 times in his life for activities involving the civil rights movement. He had four children with his wife Coretta Scott King, Yolanda Denise, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott and Bernice Albertine. James Earl Ray was arrested fro Dr King's assassination. He confessed after he was arrested but later recanted. He was found guilty.
Many people close to Dr King duobt the official story that Ray acted alone in his assassination of Dr King. This includes his son, Dexter Scott King, his wife Coretta Scott King and Jesse Jackson.
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- "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us."
- "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to'order'than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says:'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for someone else's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a'more convenient season.'"
- "If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."
- "Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. you only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love."
- "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."