Martin Luther King, Jr. was born as Michael Luther King on January 15, 1929. King's grandfather started the long tradition of being pastors in 1914 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
As a child, Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia until he graduated at the age of fifteen. After receiving his B.A., Martin attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania for three years and was elected president by a predominately white class before receiving his B.D. In 1951, King enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University and completed his residence for the doctorate in 1953 before receiving it in 1955.
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In 1954, King accepted the pastoral of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. By this time, he had already been chosen on the executive committee for the NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
In early December of 1955, Martin Luther King, Jr. accepted the leadership of a non-violent movement in the United States. The bus boycott lasted 382 days before December 21, 1956, when the Supreme Court of the United States declared segregation on buses unconstitutional. During the boycott, King's life was put in jeopardy; his home bombed, family threatened, personally abused and arrested. King then rose as the leader of Negro America.
King accepted the presidency of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization set to provide leadership for the civil rights movement, in 1957.
In the eleven years from 1957 to 1968, King traveled over six million miles, spoke over twenty-five hundred times and appeared wherever injustice, protest or action was taking place - all while writing five books and numerous articles. Martin Luther King, Jr. also planned the drives in Alabama for registration of Negro voters and directed the peaceful march of 250,000 on Washington before giving his famous "I Have a Dream" address.
King received five honorary degrees, named man of the year by Time in 1963. King also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at the age of thirty-five, making him the youngest man ever to receive the award. When notified of his selection for the Nobel Prize, King donated the $54,123 in prize money to further the civil rights movement.
On the evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot in his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee while standing on the balcony before he was to protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city. He was assassinated.
All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
Strength to Love
I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
Speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963
The 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.