Martin Luther King Jr Biography: Bio, About Life & Journey

Learn about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During the 1950s and 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. was possibly the most important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement(Martin Luther King Jr Biography).


Martin Luther King Birth & Death

Baptist pastor and social activist Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr., January 15, 1929; killed April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee) was a prominent civil rights leader in the United States from the late 1950s until his assassination in 1968.

Also Known As Michael Luther King, Jr. • MLK Jr.
Born January 15, 1929, • Atlanta • Georgia
Died April 4, 1968 (aged 39) • Memphis • Tennessee
Awards And Honors Grammy Award (1970) • Nobel Prize (1964)
Notable Works “I Have A Dream”
Notable Family Members spouse Coretta Scott King
Role In 16th Street Baptist Church bombing • American civil rights movement • March on Washington • Montgomery bus boycott • Selma March • assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. • Fair Housing Act • “I Have A Dream” • Poor People’s Campaign

To remove the legal segregation of African Americans, that campaign relied on his leadership, which was crucial to its success.” Nonviolent civil rights campaigns like the March on Washington (1963) helped King rise to national prominence as the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

Martin Luther King Early Years

King’s father and maternal grandparents were Baptist preachers, and he grew up in a middle-class household that was immersed in the history of the Southern Black ministry.

His father had replaced his father-in-law as pastor of Atlanta’s prominent Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his mother earned a master’s degree. “Sweet Auburn,” the bustling “Black Wall Street,” was home to some of the country’s largest and most wealthy Black businesses and churches prior to the civil rights movement.

Martin was up in a loving extended household and had a decent education.
In spite of his upbringing in a safe environment, King was nonetheless subjected to the biases that were prevalent in the South at the time. When he was approximately six years old, a white friend of King’s told him that he couldn’t play with him anymore because he was attending a segregated school.

His maternal grandmother, who died in 1941 and left him shaken and unstable in his early years, was very important to King. 12-year-old King attempted suicide after hearing of his mother’s deadly heart attack during an unsupervised parade with no consent from his parents.
It was via a unique wartime program that King, at just 15 years old, was accepted to Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1944. The summer he spent in Connecticut on a tobacco farm before starting college was King’s first lengthy absence from home and his first significant exposure to race relations outside the segregated South.

He was taken aback by the ease with which races coexisted in the North. In a letter to his parents, he said, “Negroes and whites attend the same church.” It never occurred to me that a person of my race could dine in a restaurant. King’s anger at racial segregation became even more after spending the summer in the North.

In his final year at Morehouse, King decided to follow his father’s advice and become a minister, despite his preference for medical and legal studies. Benjamin Mays, the president of Morehouse College, was a social gospel warrior whose brilliant oratory and progressive views had made an unforgettable impression on King’s father, Martin Luther King. By challenging the Black church’s emphasis on heaven rather than here and now, Mays urged the community to take action in the face of injustice; it was a call to duty that was not missed by the youthful Martin Luther King Jr. In 1948, he earned his MBA from Morehouse College.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coretta Scott, a native of Alabama, was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston at the time of King’s visit. Four children were born as a result of their marriage in 1953.

When a small group of civil rights activists decided to challenge racial segregation on the city’s public buses following the December 1, 1955, incident in which Rosa Parks, an African American woman, refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, King had been pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery for less than a year.

King was chosen as the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a group of anti-transit activists that gathered to organize a boycott of the system. To his benefit, he had recently arrived in town, was well-regarded, and his family ties and professional reputation were supposed to make it possible for him to locate another pastorate if the boycott failed.

As the group’s new president, King said in his inaugural speech to the group:

“We have no alternative but to protest. For many years we have shown an amazing patience. We have sometimes given our white brothers the feeling that we liked the way we were being treated. But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.”

These statements ushered in a new era of civil rights activism by giving the country a new voice, a new vocabulary, and a charismatic leader. A year and a half later, the city’s buses were desegregated after King and his family were threatened with death for leading the boycott.

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The Southern Christian Leadership Conference

To build on the success of the Montgomery protests, King founded SCLC, which provided him both a base of operations in the South and a national platform from which to speak nationally.

King gave speeches around the country and met with religious and civil rights groups both at home and abroad to discuss racial concerns. While visiting India in February 1959, King and his party were greeted with open arms by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other dignitaries.

It was during this visit that King and Nehru discussed Gandhian concepts of peaceful non-compliance (satyagraha), during which King became increasingly convinced that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom King also drew influence from Africa.

“The largest single international effect on American Negro students has been the liberation fight in Africa,” he stated. It’s common to hear them claim that if their African brothers can overcome the chains of colonialism, certainly the American Negro can dismantle Jim Crow.

In 1960, King and his family returned to Atlanta to serve as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church alongside his father. For him, the SCLC and the civil rights movement had reached a “psychological tipping point” when an all-out assault on injustice might yield significant, immediate results.

His theory was put to the test when he agreed to support the Black college students’ sit-in protests. With 33 other young people, he was detained at an Atlanta department store in late October for protesting segregation at the lunch counter.

Martin Luther King Jr Biography

Even though the charges against King were dismissed, he was sentenced to Reidsville State Prison Farm on the grounds that he had broken his probation for a minor traffic infraction he had committed months previously.

Concerns about his safety, fury about Georgia’s blatant disregard for judicial procedure, and the failure of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to step in all contributed to the issue taking on national proportions. When John F. Kennedy, the Democratic presidential candidate, intervened, King was finally freed. This widely publicized event was largely credited with helping Kennedy narrowly win the election eight days later.


Michael King, the future Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His father, a Baptist clergyman, was the inspiration for his name. To honor a major German Protestant religious leader, Michael King, Sr. changed his name to Martin Luther. After Martin Luther King, Jr., I’m glad you found it interesting. Continue to check back for more posts that are like this one. TheActiveNews.Com.

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