Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin Luther King was originally Michael, but it was later changed to Martin. He was born to Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. King father was named Michael king until he changed it to Martin which King name was changed to Martin. The King family took a trip to Germany, which made them change their name to Martin Luther to honor the Protestant leader Martin Luther. Martin had an older sister, Willie Christine King, and also a younger brother Alfred Daniel Williams King. Martin Luther King attended Booker T. Washington High School. King skipped ninth and twelfth grade. King entered Morehouse College at the age of fifth teen without formally graduating high school. Martin graduated from Morehouse in 1948, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. After he enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. King graduated there with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1951. King then began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy on June 5, 1955. While Martin was studying at Crozer Seminary, he fell in love with a Caucasian woman. They talked about marriage, but when he was warn about the difficulties of an interracial relationship and the possible negative impact on his career, he had to end the relationship. January of 1952 Martin Luther King met and fell in love with Coretta Scott. King married Coretta Scott, on June 18, 1953. They were married on the lawn of Coretta parents’ house in her hometown of Heiberger, Alabama. King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama when he was twenty-five in 1954. In December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat which led King to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Boycott lasted for three hundred and eighty one days, during that time king was threatened and his house was bombed. The boycott eventually ended with a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court issuing a ban on racial segregation on public transportation. The boycott became a significant part of King's involvement in racial politics and helped launch him into the spotlight of the civil rights movement. In 1957 King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to organize and harness the power of black churches and non-violent protests for civil rights. King found inspiration from Mohandas Gandhi and used this to help develop the peaceful protests of the SCLC. In 1958, Martin published his first book “Stride Toward Freedom” was published. Martin Luther King was signing autographs in Harlem, NY while he was on book tour in 1958 when he was and almost killed. King was stabbed by Izola Ware Curry with a letter opener, she was also carrying a gun with her. Dr. King was taken to Harlem Hospital and was operated on by famed surgeon Dr. Aubre de Lambert Maynard for two and half-hours. Dr. Maynard described what he saw upon his arrival at Harlem. A sneeze, a cough and even taking out of the blade before reaching the hospital would have resulted fatal to Dr. King. The woman who stabbed Dr. King was deemed to be mentally ill by the Magistrate who oversaw her arraignment and was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Dr. King made a full recovery to continue with his civil rights work. In 1959, King resigned as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church to work on civil rights full time and to direct the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Martin Luther King Jr. became co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father. In 1960, King was arrested during a protest at a restuarant and sentenced to four months in jail. He was released after John and Roberet Kennedy came to his aid. In 1961, the first Freedom Ride through the South took place by CORE, Congress for Racial Equality. Due to the work of King the Interstate Commerce Commision banned segregation on interstate travel. Prior to the movement, King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had been criticized by the SNCC, who felt he had not fully supported the Freedom Rides. Some SNCC activists had even given King the derisive nickname "De Lawd" for maintaining a safe distance from challenges to the Jim Crow laws. When King first visited on December 14, 1961, he "had planned to stay a day or so and return home after giving counsel." But the following day he was swept up in a mass arrest of peaceful demonstrators, and he declined bail until the city made concessions. "Those agreements", said King, "were dishonored and violated by the city," as soon as he left town.King returned in July 1962, and was sentenced to forty-five days in jail or a $178 fine. He chose jail. Three days into his sentence, Chief Pritchett discreetly arranged for King's fine to be paid and ordered his release. "We had witnessed persons being kicked off lunch counter stools ... ejected from churches ... and thrown into jail.... But for the first time, we witnessed being kicked out of jail.” After nearly a year of intense activism with few tangible results, the movement began to deteriorate. During one demonstration, black youth hurled children's toys and paper balls at Albany police. King requested a halt to all demonstrations and a "Day of Penance" to promote non-violence and maintain the moral high ground. Later in July, King was again arrested and held for two weeks. Following his release, King left town. On April 12, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested on Good Friday along with Ralph Abernathy. He was arrested by Police Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor for demonstrating without a permit. He spent 11 days in jail during which time he wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." On August 28, 1963 King led the March on Washington and gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. the speech was Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. King referred his speech on the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed millions of slaves in 1863, King observes that: "one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. On December 10, 1964 King received the Nobel peace prize for his excellent work that he had done. March 21, 1965 King led thousands of protesters 50 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. King was arrested during the march. On July 10, 1966 King began a campaign to end discrimination in housing, employment and schools in Chicago. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday April 4, 1968, at the age of 39. King was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05pm that evening. James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary, was arrested on June 8, 1968, in London at Heathrow Airport, extradited to the United States, and charged with the crime. On March 10, 1969, Ray entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. Ray later made many attempts to withdraw his guilty plea and be tried by a jury, but was unsuccessful; he died in prison on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70. The King family and others believe that the assassination was carried out by a conspiracy involving the US government, as alleged by Loyd Jowers in 1993, and that James Earl Ray was a scapegoat. In 1999 the King family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jowers for the sum of $100. During the trial both the family and Jowers cooperated in presenting evidence alleging a government conspiracy, while the government agencies accused could not defend themselves because they were not named as defendants. Based on the evidence presented to the jury, it was ruled that Loyd Jowers and others were part of a conspiracy to kill King. November 2, 1986 a national holiday was established in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. played a big role in the Civil Rights Movement, if it wasn’t for everything he had done we would not be blessed to do most of the things we can.