Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, January 15, 1929.
Martin was an excellent student and learned to read before he started school. He skipped grades in elementary school and high school and became a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia when he was only 15 years old! Martin loved to sing and read books. He also enjoyed playing football and baseball. King married Coretta Scott in 1953.
Click here to take a virtual tour of his boyhood home.
He graduated with a doctorate in theology from Boston University in 1955 and became a minister like his father and grandfather.
Coretta and Martin had four children.
All of his life Martin had experienced racism and he questioned the fairness of the segregation laws in the southern states. The segregation laws were written to keep black and white people separate.
There were "White Only" water fountains, restaurants, playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. Black and white children in the south went to separate schools.
Martin decided to do something to make the world a better and fairer place for everyone.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became famous when he involved himself in the Rosa Parks case. Rosa had refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.
She was arrested because the law said blacks had to sit at the back of the bus and give up their seats if a white person wanted to sit down.
Martin led a Black bus boycott. All of the black people in Montgomery refused to ride the buses and walked instead. Martin and ninety others were arrested. The bus company lost a lot of money and the law was changed. The Montgomery bus boycott made King a national hero.
Martin's philosophy was to encourage change through peaceful resistance.
His peaceful protests led to his arrest on many occasions in the 1950s and 60s.
He led the "March on Washington" to call attention to racial injustice in August of 1963. The march brought together more than 200,000 people. On Aug. 28, 1963 Dr. King delivered his very famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In 1964 Martin was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize is given every year to someone who has promoted peace in the world.
Dr. King met with President Johnson to discuss changes in our country's laws.
Dr. Martin Luther King was in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 when he was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
The leader of the Civil Rights movement was silenced that day but the cause went on and changed our nation forever. Laws were changed and now we have equality for everyone regardless of the color of their skin. Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!