Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. – University of Kentucky

Martin luther king jr schooling

dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

dr. King was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later changed his name to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then to the present, and from 1960 until his death martin luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia and graduated from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the b. a. he graduated in 1948 from morehouse college, a distinguished black institution in atlanta from which both his father and his grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he was elected president of a predominantly white upper class, in 1951, he was awarded the B.D. With a scholarship earned at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University; him completing his residency for a doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955.

in boston he met and married coretta scott, a young woman of unusual intellectual and artistic achievements. two sons and two daughters were born in the family. In 1954, Martin Luther King accepted the pastorate of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong supporter of the civil rights of members of his race, King was, at the time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of his kind in the nation. In early December 1955, he accepted leadership of the first major black nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States: the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his introductory speech in honor of the laureate. the boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the United States Supreme Court declared laws requiring segregation on buses unconstitutional, blacks and whites rode the buses as equals. during these days of boycott, king was arrested, his house was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a first-rate black leader. 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; his operative techniques of gandhi. between 1957 and 1968, the king traveled more than six million miles and spoke more than 2,500 times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest and action; and in the meantime 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. this inspired his “letter from a birmingham jail”, a manifesto of the black revolution. he planned the campaigns in alabama for the registration of blacks as voters.

led the peaceful march in washington, d.c., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his speech, “i have a dream,” consulted with president john f. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. johnson. he was arrested more than twenty times and assaulted at least four times. he received five honorary degrees. He was named “Man of the Year” by Time magazine in 1963. He became not only the symbolic leader of black America, but also a world figure. At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. when notified of his selection, he announced that he would award the prize money of $54,123 to further 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 solidarity with the striking garbage workers of that city, he was killed.

selected bibliography

  • adams, russell, great blacks past and present, pp. 106-107. Chicago, Afro-Am Publishing Co., 1963.
  • bennett, lerone, jr., what kind of man: a biography of martin luther king, jr. Chicago, Johnson, 1964.
  • I have a dream: the story of martin luther king in text and images. New York, Time Life Books, 1968.
  • king, martin luther, jr., the measure of a man. philadelphia. the christian education press, 1959. two devotional talks.
  • king, martin luther, jr., strength to love. new york, harper & row, 1963. sixteen sermons and an essay titled “pilgrimage to nonviolence”.
  • king, martin luther, jr., step to freedom: the montgomery story. new york, harper, 1958.
  • king, martin luther, jr., the trumpet of conscience. new york, harper & row, 1968.
  • king, martin luther, jr., where do we go from here: chaos or community? new york, harper & row, 1967.
  • king, martin luther, jr. why we can’t wait. new york, harper & row, 1963.
  • “man of the year”, time, 83 (January 3, 1964) 13-16; 25-27.
  • “Martin Luther King, Jr.”, in The Current Biographical Yearbook 1965, ed. by charles moritz, pp. 220-223. new york, hw wilson.
  • Reddick, Lawrence D., Nonviolent Crusader: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. new york, harper, 1959.
  • from nobel lectures, peace 1951-1970.

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