Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist preacher and civil rights activist. Beginning in the middle of the 1950s and continuing until the year 1968, when he was assassinated, he was one of the most influential figures in the American civil rights movement. The Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King had their first child on January 15, 1929, and he was born in Atlanta, Georgia. King Jr. was the second child and the first son born to Martin Luther King Sr. and Coretta Scott King.
King was a talented student who completed his studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta and graduated when he was only 19 years old. After that, he went on to get a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He graduated with this degree in 1951. King continued his education at Boston University, where he received a doctorate in theology in 1955.
King’s involvement in the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 marked the beginning of his activism on a serious and sustained level. The arrest of Rosa Parks, an African American woman, who refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white passenger was the catalyst for the boycott. Parks was taken into custody for her actions. King was the leader of the boycott, which lasted for more than a year and finally led to a judgement by the Supreme Court that declared it unconstitutional to maintain segregation on Montgomery buses.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, King maintained his position as a prominent civil rights leader, campaigning for desegregation, voting rights, and economic justice for African Americans. He was a gifted orator, and his addresses, like as the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered at the March on Washington in 1963, inspired millions of people in the United States to get involved in the struggle for civil rights.
However, as a result of his activism, King became a target for acts of physical assault and verbal threats. He was taken into custody on many occasions, and in 1956, his house was bombed. While incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, he penned the now-famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in response to criticism from white clergymen who disapproved of his methods.
On April 4, 1968, the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. took place in Memphis, Tennessee. King had travelled there to show his support for striking sanitation workers. James Earl Ray, a white supremacist, killed him when he was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. As a result of King’s passing, unrest broke out in towns all around the United States, and the nation as a whole entered a period of mourning.
The memory of Martin Luther King Jr. will endure long after his untimely death. Both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal were bestowed to him posthumously in the years 1977 and 2004, respectively. His birthday is commemorated as a national holiday in the United States, and his lectures and writings continue to inspire people all over the world in their battle for justice and equality. In the United States, his birthday is honoured as a national holiday on the third Monday in January.