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Martin Luther King Jr. facts


Personal: Birth date: January 15, 1929

Birth place: Atlanta, Georgia

Birth name: Michael Luther King Jr.

Father: Martin Luther King, Sr., Baptist minister

Mother: Alberta (Williams) King

Marriage: Coretta (Scott) King (June 18, 1953 — April 4, 1968, his death)

Children: Bernice, March 28, 1963; Dexter, January 30, 1961; Martin III, October 23, 1957; Yolanda, November 17, 1955 — May 15, 2007

Education: Morehouse College, B.A., 1948; Crozer Theological Seminary, B.D., 1951; Boston University, Ph.D., 1955

Other Facts: His father, Michael King Sr., changed their names to Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. when Martin Jr. was about five.

He was the first African American to be named Time magazine’s Man of the Year.

Youngest person, at the time, to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Author of six books published from 1958 through 1968, works on American race relations and collections of his sermons and lectures.

1948 — Is ordained as a Baptist minister

1954 — Becomes minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

1955 — Is elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (M.I.A.)
December 1955 — After Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white man the African American community organizes a boycott of Montgomery public transportation. King is chosen to lead the boycott. Over the next year, he is arrested and jailed, his house is bombed and his life threatened.

1956 — King emerges as a national civil rights leader after the successful Montgomery bus boycott.

1957 — Helps found and becomes president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

1960 — Moves from Montgomery to Atlanta and becomes co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father.

August 28, 1963 — During the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, King delivers his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The demonstration is attended by more than 250,000 people, one of the largest ever in Washington up to that time.

1963 — Is named Time magazine’s Man of the Year.

July 2, 1964 — King stands behind President Lyndon B. Johnson as Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

1964 — Wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1965 — Helps organize civil rights protests in Selma, Alabama.

April 4, 1968 — Is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, by James Earl Ray.

1975 — A Senate investigation reveals that the FBI illegally bugged King’s hotel rooms and home phone from 1962–1968.

1977 — Is posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Jimmy Carter.

1980 — The Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site opens in Atlanta. It includes his birthplace, burial crypt, the Eternal Flame and Ebenezer Baptist Church.

1983 — King’s birthday is designated a federal holiday, to be observed annually on the third Monday in January.

July 4, 1991 — The National Civil Rights Museum opens at the site of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where King was assassinated.

April 23, 1998 — King’s assassin, James Earl Ray, dies in prison.

June 9, 2000 — The Justice Department announces the conclusion to an 18–month investigation. They find that there is no reliable evidence to support a conspiracy behind King’s murder.

January 30, 2006 — Coretta Scott King dies at the age of 78.

June 23, 2006 — An Atlanta coalition pays $32 million for a collection of King’s personal papers, to be stored at Morehouse College.

November 13, 2006 — Groundbreaking ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument in Washington, D.C., it will be the first monument on the National Mall dedicated to an African American.

April 4, 2008 — To mark the 40th anniversary of King’s assassination, events such as forums, lectures, and exhibits take place in Atlanta and Memphis.

August 25, 2011 — The scheduled dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 2011 is postponed due to Hurricane Irene’s expected path toward the U.S. East Coast.

October 16, 2011 — The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is dedicated. The statue is located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial on the National Mall.

2012–2013 — An ongoing controversy over the inscription on the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial which says “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” is taken from a 1968 King sermon, “If you want to say I was a drum major, say I was a drum major for justice, say I was a drum major for peace, I was a drum major for righteousness and all the other shallow things will not matter,” at issue is also the cost to repair, change or delete the inscription.