Martin Luther King Jr Bio Details
Martin Luther King Jr
Also known as
Michael King Jr
Date of birth
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Date of death:
4 Apr 1968
Place of death
On his hotel balcony, Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Cause of death
Assassinated by James Earl Ray
Civil Rights Activist (1955)
President of The SCLC (1957)
Martin King Sr changed his and his sons name from Michael to Martin in 1934 in tribute to a German theologian Martin Luther.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Martin was chosen to lead an African American bus boycott that lasted 381 days. In December 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move from her seat so that a white man could sit. In 1956 the US supreme court ruled that the Montgomery's bus policy for segregation was unconstitutional. Martin became famous throughout America. During the campaign Martin was tutored in Gandhi's non-violent resistance (NVR)
The Birmingham Campaign
In 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, he staged a programme of boycotts, resulting in Martin being jailed. From his cell he wrote an open letter which became one of the most important texts of the Civil Rights Movement. It's used today in school curriculums. Unlike some previous programmes, this one was highly televised and the authorities used violence to break up the protests. This gained public support and resulted in an invite to the White House where President Kennedy endorsed his cause.
I Have a Dream
28th August 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, over 200,000 people came to watch Martin give a speech for a vision of Freedom. It is regarded as one of the finest speeches in the history of America. On the steps where Martin stood is now memorial plaque. It has been reported that a volunteer security guard, George Raveling was handed the speech at the event and still has it despite being offered $3m.
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 on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream today!
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; one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!
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 stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning: "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers 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. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious 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 peaks of California. But not only that. Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!
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!"
Martin Luther King Jr
Leader in the African American Civil Rights Movement
Martin Luther King Jr Children
Martin Luther King Jr Siblings
Martin Luther King Jr Family
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Martin Luther King Jr's wife was Coretta King