Martin Luther King was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
Martin Luther King’s Early Life
Martin Luther King was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His father, Martin Luther King Sr., was a Baptist minister. His mother, Alberta Williams King, was a schoolteacher. He had an older sister, Christine, and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King. As a child, he attended segregated public schools. In high school, he skipped two grades and graduated at the age of 15. He then enrolled at Morehouse College, where his father was a minister. After three years of study, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1948.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Martin Luther King Jr. was a pivotal figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 1955, he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott in response to the segregated bus system in Montgomery, Alabama. The boycott lasted for 381 days and resulted in the desegregation of the city’s bus system.
The Selma to Montgomery Marches
The Selma to Montgomery marches were a series of three protest marches in 1965, organized by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and others to secure voting rights for African Americans. The first march took place on March 7, 1965, and ended with violence when state troopers attacked the peaceful demonstrators with tear gas and clubs. The second march, on March 9, was also met with violence, but the third march, on March 25, succeeded in reaching Montgomery. The marches helped lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Martin Luther King’s Later Years
In the later years of his life, Martin Luther King became more and more involved in the civil rights movement. He helped to organize protests and marches, and spoke out against discrimination and violence. He also wrote books and articles about his experiences and beliefs. In 1968, he was planning a march in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was assassinated.
Martin Luther King’s Legacy
Martin Luther King was one of the most influential figures in American history. His work as a civil rights leader helped to end segregation and ensure equality for all people, regardless of race. His dream of a “colorblind” society is one that is still relevant today, and his legacy continues to inspire people around the world.