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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Updated on January 17, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. Was More Than A Legend, He Was a Peacemaker

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an incredible American Hero. He stood up for what he believed in, FREEDOM, and that all men are equal. While his life was short lived, his legend lives on.

Well known for his famous quote " I have a dream", Martin Luther King believed that all people should be treated equal regardless of color. He will for ever be a legend that helped change America.

Martin Luther King Jr. Biography


Martin 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 accepted the pastorale 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.


Martin Luther King Biography from

In the courtyard in front of Freedom Hall, on a circular brick pad in the middle of the rectangular Meditation Pool, is Dr. King's white-marble tomb; the inscription reads; free at last! Nearby, an eternal flame burns. A chapel of all faiths sits at one end of the reflecting pool.

Note: This picture was taken before Corretta passed away.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at

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10 Quick Facts About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929.

2. Martin Luther King, Jr. started college at the age of 15 and received 20 Doctorate Degrees.

3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Was a Baptist Priest.

4. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s role model was Mohandas Gandhi who was an Indian Leader.

5. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s real name was Michael and he changed it to Martin Luther legally.

6. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the 3rd Monday of January.

7. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the first black American to be Man of the Year in Time Magazine.

8. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested 30 times in the act of peaceful protesting.

9. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous speech "I Have a Dream" for the first time on August 28th, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

10. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 by James Earl Ray.

Martin Luther King Day, A National Holiday

On Monday, January 20, 1986, in cities and towns across the country people celebrated the first official Martin Luther King Day, the only federal holiday commemorating an African-American. A ceremony which took place at an old railroad depot in Atlanta Georgia was especially emotional. Hundreds had gathered to sing and to march. Many were the same people who, in 1965, had marched for fifty miles between two cities in the state of Alabama to protest segregation and descrimination of black Americans.

All through the 1980s, controversy surrounded the idea of a Martin Luther King Day. Congressmen and citizens had petitioned the President to make January 15, Martin Luther King's birthday, a federal legal holiday. Others wanted to make the holiday on the day he died, while some people did not want to have any holiday at all.

January 15 had been observed as a legal holiday for many years in 27 states and Washington, D.C. Finally, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the third Monday in January a federal legal holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday.

Schools, offices and federal agencies are closed for the holiday. On Monday there are quiet memorial services as well as elaborate ceremonies in honor of Dr. King. On the preceding Sunday, ministers of all religions give special sermons reminding everyone of Dr. King's lifelong work for peace. All weekend, popular radio stations play songs and speeches that tell the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Television channels broadcast special programs with filmed highlights of Dr. King's life and times. Read more...

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Martin Luther King Jr. was a prophet.

      University of Nigeria

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Thank you for publishing this tribute to a great American. Wish you the best.

    • Wbisbill LM profile image

      Barbara Isbill 5 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      Great lens for a great American!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for a useful lens. ;-)

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      wonderful and positive, Blessed

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens for an amazing man. THUMBS UP and ANGEL BLESSED

    • JonitasKalimpo profile image

      JonitasKalimpo 6 years ago

      A good compilation of information about this great man. You've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      violinmaster 8 years ago

      Nice Lens. He's a great man, thank you for helping to get his voice out there further.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      im so sad that who could posobly kill a inasint person u and my whole family will remember u dr.king

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      SUCK MY ass

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      I like men a lot

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago


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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will always be remembered in my heart n soul. he was n still is a wonderful man. without king we would still be in segregation today i honor and thank king for his works and all of his courage to make what it is today a good nation!!!!! Thank you Dr. King you'll always be a part of me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 8 years ago from Northern California

      Angel Blessings for remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      was a good mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 8 years ago

      MLK was a great man. The world needs more people like him. 5*

    • RichLeighHD profile image

      RichLeighHD 9 years ago

      Excellent lens you've got there! A certain 5 stars from me.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 9 years ago

      This is a really great lens - a lot of information and the pictures really make it compelling

    • carrieokier profile image

      carrieokier 9 years ago

      Nice job on your lens. 5*

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 9 years ago

      Thanks for the Squidcast! Very nice lens on a great human being. :)