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Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. – M.L.K.

He is one of the most famous Americans known to people all over the world. He struggled against racial injustice and was a champion of civil rights. At the age of 35, he became the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize. He is none other than Martin Luther King Jr. Know The Fact brings you the inspirational life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most important figures in American history. His birth name was Michael King Jr., a fact less known by people. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He struggled for civil rights for people of color in the United States. He believed in achieving his aim through nonviolence and civil disobedience.
He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and his Christian beliefs. The movement he initiated was successful. It put an end to the legal segregation of African American citizens in the South and other parts of the United States.

Early life
Martin Luther attended racially segregated public schools in his hometown of Georgia. At fifteen years old, he enrolled in Morehouse College. There he was inspired by the college’s president, Benjamin Mays. Mays was against racial inequality and emphasised that the black church should also focus on this life instead of entirely focusing on the next. This inspired the King a lot. King graduated with a B.A. degree in 1948.
He then studied for three years at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He was elected president of Crozer’s student body, which was almost entirely white. In 1951, Martin Luther King Jr. graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (B.Div.) degree. In 1955, he received a doctorate for his dissertation titled “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman” from Boston University.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery bus boycott was implemented to protest against racial segregation in the Montgomery public bus system. The boycott was a reaction to the incident of December 1, 1955. On that day, Rosa Parks, an African American, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. This led to her arrest. Martin Luther was chosen as the Montgomery Improvement Association leader. His speech gave a new voice to the civil struggle. The safety of his family was in danger. Yet he continued the boycott. A year and a few weeks later, the buses were no longer segregated.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Events after the Montgomery bus boycott
After the success of the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther organised the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). This organisation gave him a national platform. He gave lectures in all parts of the US. King also discussed racial issues with national and international religious and civil rights leaders.
In October 1960, he was arrested along with 33 other people for protesting against lunch counter segregation in an Atlanta department store. Charges were dropped against the protesters.
Martin Luther was sent to Reidsville State Prison Farm on account of a minor traffic violation he committed a few months ago. There was nationwide outrage due to his unfair sentence. He was released only due to the mediation of Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

The letter from the Birmingham jail was
In 1963, Martin Luther led a campaign in Birmingham, Alabama to end racial segregation at lunch counters. As a result of the protest, King and many of his supporters were jailed. From the Birmingham jail, he wrote his famous eloquent letter. The letter described his views on non-violence, justice, and Christianity. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther and other civil rights leaders
organised the historic March on Washington. The march was attended by more than 200,000 people. The peaceful gathering assembled at the Lincoln Memorial to demand equal justice for all Americans.

At this event, Martin Luther gave his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream”. His speech emphasised racial equality and rights. It is also aimed at bringing awareness among people regarding the racial injustice taking place in the US. King’s agitation for civil rights finally resulted in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act gave the federal government the authority to carry out desegregation of public quarters and outlaw discrimination in publicly owned facilities and in employment.

Assassination and legacy
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a white man named James Earl Ray. He was standing on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel when he was shot dead. King’s assassination led to riots in cities all over the United States. On March 10, 1969, James Earl Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He died at the age of 70 in 1998. Martin Luther King Jr. was honoured with many awards, including the 1977 Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the list goes on.

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