Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. His grandfather began the family's tradition as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931. His father has served from then until present. Martin attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen. He received a BA degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, which is a distinguished Negro Institutio of Atlanta from which both his father and his grandfather graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. He then enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing is residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. He met and married his wife Coretta Scott. They had two sons and two daughters.
Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, Martin was a member of the executive committed of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration in the United States, the bus boycott which lasted for 382 days. During these days of boycott, Martin was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.
In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the Civil Rights movement. Martin traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action. During these days, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world. He planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters. He directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his speech, "I Have A Dream." He was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only for the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.
At the age of 35, Martin was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the Civil Rights movement. On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.
Martin Luther King Jr. has shown the world the new way of looking at the people around us. He has taught us that we are all equal in everyway, no matter what color of skin we have. He enlightened the people with his bravery to stand up for what he believed in. He has given us the ability to speak our mind and for that, he will always be my hero.
Page created on 7/26/2003 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 7/26/2003 12:00:00 AM