Martin Luther King Jr.

By | Jan 15, 2015

Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King.

King received a B.A. in sociology from Morehouse College, and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston College in 1955.

King began his work in equal rights after learning of the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955 for her failure to give up her bus seat to a white man. He founded the Southern Christian leadership Conference in 1957. The group was created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. His most famous speech was given during the Civil Rights March, formally called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in 1963. The words, ‘I have a dream’ will be remembered from the speech.

King was assassinated on April 14, 1968 on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was in Memphis to deliver a speech in support of black garbage workers who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. The assassination led to riots in more than 60 US cities.

Two months after the murder of King, James Earl Ray was captured at London Heathrow airport. Ray confessed to the murder during interrogation in Memphis, although he recanted the confession 3 days later. Under the advice of his attorney he plead guilty to avoid a trail conviction and a possible death penalty. In later times the family of King has their doubts that Ray was the assassin. Ray died in prison on April 23, 1998 from complications related to kidney disease.

In 1986, a federal holiday established in his name was observed for the first time. President Reagan signed the law in 1983 creating the holiday to be observed on the third Monday in January.


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