Martin Luther King, Jr.
I. Childhood and Education
Michael King, Jr., at birth, was born January 15 of 1929 in Atlanta. It was in his early years that his name and his father’s were changed to Martin Luther King in honor of Martin Luther. As a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up from the influences of his family. His maternal grandfather, A. D. Williams was a Baptist minister who was actively participating in “organizations that condemned lynching, segregation in public transportation, and the exclusion of black men from juries and state militia” (Carson). His father Martin Luther King, Sr. took over Williams’ place after his death in 1931. Like Williams, King, Sr. was an active political and religious leader (Martin Luther King, Jr.). His mother Alberta was a teacher by profession. She, in her teachings and explanations about the “Jim Crow laws that separated Whites and Blacks and the Civil War and how it ended slavery, but not the hatred and prejudice between Blacks and Whites” have influenced King Jr.’s early mind. (Martin Luther King, Jr.).
King Jr.s’ experiences have in some ways awakened his concern on prejudices and on Black and White segregation. At a young age, he witnessed prejudices on Black people like how his father refused to sit in the back at the shoe store because they were Black, that he was to go to a school for Black and how he and his teacher were threatened and forced to sit at the back of the bus because they were Black. In his early mind, these gave him the determination to fight prejudice (Martin Luther King, Jr.).
King Jr. majored sociology in Morehouse College. In 1948, he was ordained as Baptist Minister and graduated from Morehouse College. He then took divinity degree at Crozer Theological Seminary and graduated with honors in May 1951. At the same year, he took a doctorate in theology in Boston University. There he met his wife Coretta Scott and got married 18th of June on the same year. He worked in a Baptist Church in Montgomery with Coretta in 1954. And in 1955, he received his PhD (The New Georgia Encyclopedia).
II. Civil Rights Activities
In 1955, King Jr. joined the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). He took part on the successful 381 days bus boycott that resulted to the abolishment of Jim Crow Laws. In 1957, he became the president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and supported bus boycott and has driven to register black voters. In 1958, he published Stride towards Freedom with which almost caused him his life when stabbed by a crazy black woman. He also participated in the student sits-in by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) that led to federal action on the suspended desegregation of Southern bus terminals. In 1961, with the SCLC, he led the Albany Movement. From the failure of the said movement, he led the new Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR). The act led to the desegregation of facilities and opened employment opportunities for Blacks. The largest civil rights movement that he led was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that resulted to the passing of Congress of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, which outlawed segregation in public facilities. In 1965, he campaigned for the Black Voting Rights which passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Not all of his activities were a success. The unsuccessful Chicago campaign convinced him that the problems faced by African Americans were due to “fundamental economic inequalities in American society” (The New Georgia Encyclopedia). The last planned activity of King Jr. was the Poor People’s March to Washington that never happened because he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 prior to the march (The New Georgia Encyclopedia).
Carson, C. King, martin luther jr. In Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History.
Retrieved March 18, 2007, from ;http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/additional_resources/articles/encyclo.htm ;.
Martin luther king, jr. Oracle Think Quest Education Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2007,
Martin luther king jr. (1929-1968). In The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 18,
2007, from ;http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-1009;.