Martin Luther King

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Martin Luther King, Jr born on the 15th of January 1929, he died on the 4th of April 1968. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from More House College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated.

 

In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family. In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation.

 

With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, in 1962, and organized nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama, that attracted national attention following television news coverage of the brutal police response.

 

King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That same year, a significant step forward was made with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

 

King stated that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs. In an interview conducted for Playboy in 1965, he said that granting black Americans only equality could not realistically close the economic gap between them and whites.

 

King said that he did not seek a full restitution of wages lost to slavery, which he believed impossible, but proposed a government compensatory program of $50 billion over ten years to all disadvantaged groups. He was arrested thirty times for his participation in civil rights activities.

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He was a founder and president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1957 to 1968. He was also vice president of the national Sunday school and Baptist Teaching Union Congress of the National Baptist Convention.

 

He was a member of several national and local boards of directors and served on the boards of trustees of several institutions and agencies.

 

The Voting Rights Act followed in 1965, removing many of the barriers which had ensured African Americans could be disenfranchised in some states. The Poor People’s Campaign was established in December 1967.

 

SCLC lobbied the government to improve their efforts in combating poverty. On 3 April 1968, he arrived in Memphis, Tennessee to prepare for a march in support of striking sanitation workers.

 

The following day, he was shot dead on his hotel balcony. The President, Lyndon B. Johnson, called for a national day of mourning.

 

His funeral services were held April 9, 1968, in Atlanta at Ebenezer Church and on the campus of More House College, with the President of the United States proclaiming a day of mourning and flags being flown at half-staff.

 

The area where Dr. King was entombed is located on Freedom Plaza and surrounded by the Freedom Hall Complex of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Centre.