Home Timeline 1942-1973 Reporters & Writers Perpsectives on Reporting Civil Rights Resources Reporting Civil Rights: The LOA Anthology
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No photo available Martin Luther King Jr. Jr.
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(January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) Born in Atlanta. Graduated from Morehouse College in 1948, and from Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951 with a B.A. in divinity; later earned doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University (1955). Beginning in 1954 worked as pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In December 1955 became president of Montgomery Improvement Association, leading bus boycott; home bombed the following January. Became chairman of Southern Negro Leadership Conference (later Southern Christian Leadership Conference) in January 1957; appeared on cover of Time in February. Attended Ghanaian independence celebration; delivered speech, "Give Us the Ballot," at 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington, D.C. Published Stride toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958). In September 1958 stabbed by mentally ill woman in New York City. Traveled to India in February 1959, meeting with Jawaharlal Nehru and followers of Gandhi. Moved to Atlanta in 1960, serving with father as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church; arrested during Atlanta sit-in protests. In May 1961 addressed mass rally at Montgomery church in wake of Freedom Ride; in December, arrested in Albany, Georgia, protest. Published Strength To Love (1963), a book of sermons, and "Letter from Birmingham Jail" after April 1963 arrest in Birmingham. Addressed March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963; eulogized children killed in September 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Book Why We Can't Wait published (1964); arrested during sit-in in St. Augustine, Florida. Received Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in December. With James Forman and John Lewis, led march from Selma to Montgomery (March 1965); in August announced opposition to war in Vietnam at Birmingham rally. Lived in Chicago slum for a week, part of SCLC campaign to bring southern civil rights movement north (January 1966); in June, walked in Mississippi "March Against Fear" after shooting of James Meredith. Published Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community (1967); delivered antiwar speeches. Led 1968 march in support of striking Memphis sanitation workers; made final speech on April 3. Assassinated while standing on balcony of Lorraine Hotel, Memphis. Buried in Atlanta.