Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. His dad was a minister and his grandfather was the pastor there before that. Martin Luther King, Jr. was taught by his parents at a young age to treat everyone with respect.
Martin Luther King Jr. decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps when he went to college. In 1954, Martin received his PhD and became known as Dr. King. He accepted a job as a pastor at a church in Montgomery, Alabama and organized non-violent protests against the mistreatment people in his community. Martin Luther King, Jr. was always peaceful and reminded those who followed him that their fight would be victorious if there was no violence.
On August 28, 1963, 200,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. It was a peaceful protest for laws to guarantee every American equal civil rights. The march was one of the largest groups of protesters Washington D.C. had ever seen. Even more amazing was the fact that there was no violence. During this march, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. One year later, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. That same year, King was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Dr. King traveled across America, organizing marches, speaking about world peace and supporting civil rights. In April 1968, he went to Memphis, Tennessee to support sanitation workers who were on strike. On April 3rd, Dr. King gave his last speech. The following day, as he was leaving his hotel room, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed. James Earl Ray was convicted of murdering Martin Luther King Jr., although some members of King’s family believe the US government may have been involved in his death. In 1986, Martin Luther King Day officially became a federal holiday in the United States.
Here’s a clip from Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, below.