Martin Luther King Jr. - History

Martin Luther King Jr. - History



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Martin Luther King Jr.

1929- 1968

American Civil Rights Campaigner

Civil rights crusader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He studied at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary and Boston University, from which he received a PhD in 1955. In 1954, he became a minister at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

A gifted orator and writer, King achieved national prominence when he helped organize the Montgomery bus boycott. In 1957, he established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The conference, under King's direction, led civil rights protest actions throughout the country.

King's most memorable action was the 1963 March on Washington, in which 250,000 persons participated. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in April 1968. He was 39 years old.


Martin Luther King Jr.

M artin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931 his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating 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 from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, 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. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. 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. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

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. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the Negro revolution he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream”, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times he 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 thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of 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.

Selected bibliography

Adams, Russell, Great Negroes Past and Present, pp. 106-107. Chicago, Afro-Am Publishing Co., 1963.

Bennett, Lerone, Jr., What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Chicago, Johnson, 1964.

I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King in Text and Pictures. New York, Time Life Books, 1968.

King, Martin Luther, Jr., The Measure of a Man. Philadelphia. The Christian Education Press, 1959. Two devotional addresses.

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Strength to Love. New York, Harper & Row, 1963. Sixteen sermons and one essay entitled “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence.”

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Stride toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York, Harper, 1958.

King, Martin Luther, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience. New York, Harper & Row, 1968.

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? New York, Harper & Row, 1967.

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Why We Can’t Wait. New York, Harper & Row, 1963.

“Man of the Year”, Time, 83 (January 3, 1964) 13-16 25-27.

“Martin Luther King, Jr.”, in Current Biography Yearbook 1965, ed. by Charles Moritz, pp. 220-223. New York, H.W. Wilson.

Reddick, Lawrence D., Crusader without Violence: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York, Harper, 1959.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1951-1970, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

* Note from Nobelprize.org: This biography uses the word “Negro”. Even though this word today is considered inappropriate, the biography is published in its original version in view of keeping it as a historical document.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1964

To cite this section
MLA style: Martin Luther King Jr. – Biography. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2021. Mon. 21 Jun 2021. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/biographical/>

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Influence of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

His tactics for achieving social change were drawn from those of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (known as Mahatma, “great soul”), who had used nonviolent civil disobedience to bring about change in his native India (as he had done with some success previously to win concessions for Indian immigrants living in South Africa’s apartheid system). Gandhi’s methods included boycotts of British goods and institutions. (Like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi was repeatedly arrested and ultimately was assassinated by a fanatic.)

Although King stressed nonviolence, even when confronted by violence, those who opposed change did not observe such niceties. Protestors were beaten, sprayed with high-pressure water hoses, tear-gassed, and attacked by police dogs bombings at black churches, homes, and other locations took a number of lives some—both black and white—who agitated for civil rights such as the right to vote were murdered, but the movement pressed on.

King was the most prominent leader in the drive to register black voters in Atlanta and the march on Washington, D.C., that drew a quarter-million participants. His message had moved beyond African Americans and was drawing supporters from all segments of society, many of them appalled by the violence they saw being conducted against peaceful protestors night after night on television news.


Hero for All: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., never backed down in his stand against racism. Learn more about the life of this courageous hero who inspired millions of people to right a historical wrong.

A hero is born

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929. At the time in that part of the country, segregation—or the separation of races in places like schools, buses, and restaurants—was the law. He experienced racial predjudice from the time he was very young, which inspired him to dedicate his life to achieving equality and justice for Americans of all colors. King believed that peaceful refusal to obey unjust law was the best way to bring about social change.

Marching Forward

King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, lead demonstrators on the fourth day of a historic five-day march in 1965. Starting in Selma, Alabama, where local African Americans had been campaigning for the right to vote, King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators 54 miles to the state capitol of Montgomery.

Brave sacrifices

King was arrested several times during his lifetime. In 1960, he joined Black college students in a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy interceded to have King released from jail, an action that is credited with helping Kennedy win the presidency.

Speaking out

King inspires a large crowd with one of his many speeches. Raised in a family of preachers, he's considered one of the greatest speakers in U.S. history.

INSPIRING OTHERS

King waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the March on Washington. There, he delivered the "I Have a Dream" speech, which boosted public support for civil rights.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, remembered

Making history

President Lyndon B. Johnson shakes King's hand at the signing of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlawed racial segregation in publicly owned facilities.

FAMILY LIFE

King his wife, Coretta Scott King, sit with three of their four children in their Atlanta, Georgia, home in 1963. His wife shared the same commitment to ending the racist system they had both grown up under.

A win for peace

King receives the Nobel Prize for Peace from Gunnar Jahn, president of the Nobel Prize Committee, in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, 1964.

Remembering a hero

A crowd of mourners follows the casket of King through the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, after his assassination in April 4, 1968. King was shot by James Earl Ray on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Americans honor the civil rights activist on the third Monday of January each year, Martin Luther King Day.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY: COURTESY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS BEN MARTIN, TIME LIFE PICTURES / GETTY IMAGES HORACE CORT JULIAN WASSER, TIME LIFE PICTURES / GETTY IMAGES AFP, GETTY IMAGES HULTON ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES COURTESY ASSOCIATED PRESS COURTESY KEYSTONE / GETTY IMAGES COURTESY HULTON ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES


Race in America

Notably, King spent a great deal of the letter outlining how “the unjust law” — which he defined as “a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself” — worked to prop up those racial and economic inequalities. The racist intent or racial impact of such legislation might not be overt, King noted. “Sometimes a law is just on its face,” he wrote, “and unjust in its application.”

Civil rights activists like King adopted the word “demonstrations” to characterize their protests, because they sought to demonstrate the realities of segregation and discrimination in undeniable terms. In the letter, King explained that he sought to expose the hypocrisies in Jim Crow laws and demonstrate the inequalities they obscured.

“We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive,” he wrote. “We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

King’s summons to identify and illuminate the racial, economic and political inequalities in American life runs counter to the conservative culture war against critical race theory and related publications like The 1619 Project. (In full disclosure, I am one of several historians who have written chapters for the project’s forthcoming book.)

Politicians like Trump, DeSantis and Toth are certainly welcome to believe that we should not, in fact, acknowledge the deep roots of racism in American society and how that shaped the nation around us, but they shouldn’t invoke the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. when they do so.

At the very least, they should follow their own recommendations and study what the civil rights icon actually wrote and actually said. It seems they might be in for an education of their own.

Kevin M. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton University. A specialist in modern American political, social and urban/suburban history, he is the author and editor of several books, including "White Flight" (2005), "One Nation Under God" (2015) and "Fault Lines: A History of the United States since 1974" (2019). He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his master's and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.


&ldquoBut we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.&rdquo

&ldquoThere comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair.&rdquo

&ldquoAny law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.&rdquo

&ldquoThe whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.&rdquo

&ldquoLet us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.&rdquo

&ldquoDarkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.&rdquo

&ldquoThe ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others.&rdquo

&ldquoWe must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools.&rdquo

&ldquoForgiveness is not an occasional act it is a permanent attitude.&rdquo

&ldquoI have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.&rdquo

&ldquoThe function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.&rdquo

&ldquoI'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.&rdquo

&ldquoPower at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.&rdquo

&ldquoA man who won't die for something is not fit to live.&rdquo

&ldquoAt the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.&rdquo

&ldquoRight, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.&rdquo

&ldquoIn the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.&rdquo

&ldquoInjustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.&rdquo

&ldquoOur lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.&rdquo


Martin Luther King, Jr. : I Have a Dream Speech (1963)

On August 28, 1963, some 100 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves, a young man named Martin Luther King climbed the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to describe his vision of America. More than 200,000 people-black and white-came to listen. They came by plane, by car, by bus, by train, and by foot. They came to Washington to demand equal rights for black people. And the dream that they heard on the steps of the Monument became the dream of a generation.

As far as black Americans were concerned, the nation’s response to Brown was agonizingly slow, and neither state legislatures nor the Congress seemed willing to help their cause along. Finally, President John F. Kennedy recognized that only a strong civil rights bill would put teeth into the drive to secure equal protection of the laws for African Americans. On June 11, 1963, he proposed such a bill to Congress, asking for legislation that would provide “the kind of equality of treatment which we would want for ourselves.” Southern representatives in Congress managed to block the bill in committee, and civil rights leaders sought some way to build political momentum behind the measure.

A. Philip Randolph, a labor leader and longtime civil rights activist, called for a massive march on Washington to dramatize the issue. He welcomed the participation of white groups as well as black in order to demonstrate the multiracial backing for civil rights. The various elements of the civil rights movement, many of which had been wary of one another, agreed to participate. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and the Urban League all managed to bury their differences and work together. The leaders even agreed to tone down the rhetoric of some of the more militant activists for the sake of unity, and they worked closely with the Kennedy administration, which hoped the march would, in fact, lead to passage of the civil rights bill.

On August 28, 1963, under a nearly cloudless sky, more than 250,000 people, a fifth of them white, gathered near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to rally for “jobs and freedom.” The roster of speakers included speakers from nearly every segment of society — labor leaders like Walter Reuther, clergy, film stars such as Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando and folksingers such as Joan Baez. Each of the speakers was allotted fifteen minutes, but the day belonged to the young and charismatic leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had originally prepared a short and somewhat formal recitation of the sufferings of African Americans attempting to realize their freedom in a society chained by discrimination. He was about to sit down when gospel singer Mahalia Jackson called out, “Tell them about your dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!” Encouraged by shouts from the audience, King drew upon some of his past talks, and the result became the landmark statement of civil rights in America — a dream of all people, of all races and colors and backgrounds, sharing in an America marked by freedom and democracy.

For further reading: Herbert Garfinkel, When Negroes March: The March on Washington…(1969) Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963 (1988) Stephen B. Oates, Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. (1982).
“I HAVE A DREAM” (1963)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon of hope to millions of slaves, who had been seared in the flames of whithering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the colored America is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the colored American is still sadly crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later, the colored American lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the colored American is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our Nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.

We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is not time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.

Now it the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.

Now it the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

Now is the time to make justice a reality to all of God’s children.

I would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of it’s colored citizens. This sweltering summer of the colored people’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hope that the colored Americans needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the colored citizen is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the colored person’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for white only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a colored person in Mississippi cannot vote and a colored person in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of your trials and tribulations. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality.

You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our modern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you, my friends, we have the difficulties of today and tomorrow.

I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to climb up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that, let freedom, ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi and every mountainside.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement 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 spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”


Although we want to go back to the History of Soccer, we must bear in mind that its roots and rules were not typical of the sport we know today.

Being Xeng-T emperor, in the 5th century, he forced the soldiers to play a ball game known as Tsú-Shú meaning Tsú: kick and Shú: ball.

In the 2nd century b.C. in China, a game was held that consisted of disputing the ball vigorously with the rivals, and then, with the use of the feet and hands, passing the ball over a cord held by two posts, which today we know as “goal.”

In these times it is when the raw leather is wrapped in several roots giving birth to the leather ball. Its inventor was FU-HI. It was used in the Chinese dynasty then, as training in the military fields. Even when a soldier violated the code, he was forced to dominate the ball without dropping it, if so, his punishment was dropped.

A century later, in Egypt, the ball game is performed as a fertility ritual. This game is adopted by its neighboring towns India and Persia, obtaining the ball as the object of the game.

We can also find in America how the Aztecs practiced for years the game called Tlachitli, which was a mix between tennis, football and basketball. In the game the use of the hands was prohibited and the losing team captain was sacrificed as part of the game.

In 1855 Charles Goodyear built and patented the first soccer ball which consisted of a rudimentary vulcanized rubber ball.

However, if we want to talk about the History of Soccer per se, we should talk about how the Football Association was founded in England in 1863, thus being the first governing body of that sport. Stipulating from there the rules and style of play of what is today the most famous sport in the world.

In the year of 1900, Soccer is included in the Olympic Games and recognized as such. Later in 1902 Argentina and Uruguay meet in the first International match outside the British Isles.

In 1904, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) was founded in Paris, France. Who from that moment was dedicated to regulate and organize the meetings worldwide.


A sniper's bullet struck Martin Luther King Jr's neck, which caused his death.

The assassination took place at 6:05 pm on his second-floor balcony at the Lorraine Motel, a day after his speech on Memphis. As he was standing on the balcony, when a bullet from a sniper struck his neck. King was immediately sent to the hospital, only to be pronounced dead after an hour. Eventually, James Earl Ray got arrested for the assassination. A convicted felon and an American fugitive, King unfortunately made it to his long list of victims.


Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

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Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, in the United States, holiday (third Monday in January) honouring the achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. A Baptist minister who advocated the use of nonviolent means to end racial segregation, he first came to national prominence during a bus boycott by African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and led the 1963 March on Washington. The most influential of African American civil rights leaders during the 1960s, he was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and employment, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

What is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day?

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is a holiday in the United States honouring the achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister and civil rights leader who advocated for nonviolent resistance against racial segregation.

Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Baptist minister and a leader of the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and, at that time, was the youngest person to have done so.

When is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day?

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January in the United States. It takes place on January 18, 2021.

When was Martin Luther King, Jr., Day established?

Legislation making Martin Luther King, Jr., Day a federal holiday was passed in 1983, and the first nationwide observance took place in 1986. Legislation for the holiday had been introduced in Congress in 1968 but initially received enough opposition to block its passage, though states and cities began honouring King’s birthday, January 15, as early as 1970.

How is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day celebrated?

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is usually celebrated with marches and parades and with speeches by civil rights leaders and politicians. Individuals and organizations also undertake volunteer efforts in support of what is often called the MLK Day of Service.

Almost immediately after King’s death, there were calls for a national holiday in his honour. Beginning in 1970 a number of states and cities made his birthday, January 15, a holiday. Although legislation for a federal holiday was introduced in Congress as early as 1968, there was sufficient opposition, on racial and political grounds, to block its passage. In 1983 legislation making the third Monday in January a federal holiday finally was passed, and the first observance nationwide was in 1986. The day is usually celebrated with marches and parades and with speeches by civil rights and political leaders.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


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