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Martin Luther King was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement.
His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States, and he has become a hero in the civil rights movement in America and a human rights icon in the whole world.
Martin Luther King was pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama from 1954-59. A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. Moreover he advocated the struggle against racism and social change exclusively through non-violent means.
A powerful speaker and a man of great spiritual strength, he shaped the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1964, at the age of 35 years King won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming at the time the youngest recipient ever.
Birthday Is National Holiday 15 January Martin Luther King Day (USA).
Martin Luther King was licensed to preach by Ebenezer Baptist Church deacons, 1947 and in 1948 was ordained Baptist minister.
In 1954 he became pastor of a church in Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL, Montgomery, where he served during 1954-1960.
In 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was stabbed by a mentally-unstable woman in Blumstein’s Department Store in Harlem. The 29-year-old King was rushed to Harlem Hospital, where doctors performed emergency surgery to remove a steel letter opener. In 1960, King visited India at the invitation of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, where he studied the works of Mahatma Gandhi.
From 1960 to 1968 he was co-pastor with father of Ebenezer Baptist Church at Atlanta.
During one such period in 1960, presidential candidate John Kennedy made a sympathetic telephone call to King's wife. The initiative was widely seen as an important factor swinging the black vote behind the Democrats.
He became leader of the bus boycott (1955-56) which began in Montgomery on 1 December 1955, an action inspired by the arrest of African-American Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus.
King was selected to head the Montgomery Improvement Association, whose boycott efforts ended in success. The boycott lasted over a year, during which time King’s home was bombed, but he withstood heavy pressure and gained national attention and prestige as a civil-rights leader.
In 1956 Racial segregation on city buses was ruled unconstitutional, and that eventually ended the city's policies of racial segregation on public transportation. In 1957 he formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), serving as its first president and developed a campaign of direct but non-violent action aimed at achieving a civil rights for African Americans.
In 1960 he returned to Atlanta to become copastor with his father of Ebenezer Baptist Church. On April 16, 1963, King was imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama, after a nonviolent protest. There he wrote his famous ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, in which he defended this kind of direct, nonviolent action as a way of forcing people to take notice of injustice.
On 28 August 1963, on the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, King helped organize the March on Washington, when the inspirational orator spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial his famous "I have a dream" speech to a crowd of over 250,000. King said: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal'.
The following year King and the SCLC led a campaign for African-American voter registration centered on Selma, Ala.
In 1965 nonviolent march from Selma to Montgomery was attacked by police who beat and tear gassed the protestors. The events in Selma provoked national outrage, and months later aroused public opinion did much to precipitate passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Thereafter, King broadened his campaign to encompass the morally more complex issues of de facto segregation outside the south, economic injustice, deeper concern over poverty and the increasingly divisive war in Vietnam mainly from a religious perspective.
In 1966 he moved north to tackle racism in Chicago, where he met the opposition of the powerful Mayor Daley. In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the largest antiwar demonstration to date in New York City. More than 1,100 people marched with King from Central Park to U.N. headquarters to protest the Vietnam War.
Over the next few years, King's work began to bear fruit as the U.S. Congress passed landmark legislation addressing long-standing civil inequalities: the Civil Rights Act (1964), the Voting Rights Act (1965), and the Fair Housing Act (1968).
Growing up in Atlanta, King attended Booker T. Washington High School. At that time King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind.
He skipped ninth and twelfth grade, and entered Morehouse College without formally graduating from high school. King was a child prodigy, he entered college at age 15 and was ordained as a minister of the Baptist Church at age 19.
In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated 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 (Diss.:"A Comparison of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Wieman"). In 1957 he attended classes at University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
He married the former Coretta Scott, a сonservatory student on June 18, 1953. The marriage ceremony took place on the lawn of the Scott's home in Marion. The Reverend King, Sr., performed the service. Four children were born to Dr. and Mrs. King: Yolanda Denise (November 17, 1955 – 15 May-2007), Martin Luther III, activist (October 23, 1957), Dexter Scott (January 30, 1961), Bernice Albertine (March 28, 1963).
On April 4, 1968 he went to Memphis, Tennessee, to support a strike by sanitation workers. As King was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel (next to Jesse Jackson), he was injured by sniper and died in the hospital.
Remains: Buried, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Atlanta, GA.