No figure is an ext closely established with the mid-20th century battle for civil rights than young name Luther King, Jr. His adoption of nonviolent resistance to accomplish equal rights for black color Americans earned the the Nobel peace Prize in 1964. King is remembered for his masterful oratorical skills, most memorably in his "I have a Dream" speech.

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Early Life and Education

Born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, King was greatly influenced through his father, a church pastor, that King witnessed stand approximately segregation in his day-to-day life. In 1936, King"s father additionally led a march of several hundred afri Americans come Atlanta"s city hall to protest voting legal rights discrimination.

As a member of his high school controversy team, King occurred a call for his powerful public speak skills, amplified by his deep baritone voice and also extensive vocabulary. King left high school at the period of 15 to get in Atlanta"s Morehouse College, one all-male historically Black college attended by both his father and maternal grandfather.

After graduating in 1948 v a bachelor"s level in sociology, King chose to follow in his father"s footsteps and also enrolled in a seminary in Pennsylvania before pursuing a doctorate in theology in ~ Boston University. While studying for King offered as an assistant minister at Boston"s Twelfth Baptist Church, which to be renowned for its abolitionist origins. In Boston, that met and also married Coretta Scott, a college student at the new England Conservatory that Music.

Joining the Civil rights Movement

After finishing his doctorate, King went back to the south at the age of 25, ending up being pastor that the Dexter avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Shortly after King take it up residence in the town, Rosa Parks made background when she refuse to offer up she seat because that a white passenger top top a Montgomery bus.

Starting in 1955, Montgomery"s Black community staged very successful bus boycott the lasted for over a year. King, played a pivotal leadership role in organizing the protest. His arrest and imprisonment together the boycott"s leader propelled King onto the national stage together a lead figure in the civil legal rights movement.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.… We recognize through painful endure that freedom is never ever voluntarily provided by the oppressor; it have to be inquiry by the oppressed." — young name Luther King, Jr.

With other Black church leaders in the South, King established the southerly Christian management Conference (SCLC) to mountain nonviolent protests versus racist Jim crow laws. Motivated by Mahatma Gandhi"s design of nonviolent resistance, King thought that relaxed protest for civil legal rights would cause sympathetic media coverage and also public opinion. His instincts verified correct when civil civil liberties activists were based on violent assaults by white officials in extensively televised illustration that drew nationwide outrage. Through King in ~ its helm, the polite rights movement ultimately accomplished victories through the passage of the Civil civil liberties Act in 1964 and the Voting civil liberties Act in 1965.

Nonviolent protest profit traction

In 1959, King returned to Atlanta to serve as co-pastor v his dad at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. His authorized in a sit-in at a room 1960 presidential election between Richard Nixon and also John F. Kennedy. Push from Kennedy led to King"s release.

Working very closely with, King and also the SCLC turned their sights top top Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, arranging sit-ins in publicly spaces. Again, the protests attracted nationwide attention when televised footage showed Birmingham police deploying pressurized water jets and police dogs against peaceful demonstrators. The project was eventually successful, forcing the notorious Birmingham police cook Bull Connor to resign and also the city come desegregate public spaces.

"There is nothing higher in all the human being than freedom. It"s worth going to jail for. It"s worth losing a project for. It"s worth dying for. My friends, go out this evening determined to achieve this liberty which God wants for every one of His children." — young name Luther King, Jr.

During the campaign, King was when again sent to prison, wherein he written his legendary "Letter indigenous Birmingham Jail," in solution to a speak to from white sympathizers to address civil legal rights through legal method rather 보다 protest. King passionately disagreed, speak the unjust case necessitated urgent action. He wrote: "Injustice everywhere is a danger to righteousness everywhere.… We know through painful endure that flexibility is never voluntarily provided by the oppressor; it need to be request by the oppressed."

History-making marches

In 1963, King and also the SCLC worked with and other civil rights groups to to organize the march on Washington because that Jobs and Freedom, which attracted 250,000 human being to rally for the civil and also economic rights of black color Americans in the nation"s capital. There, King delivered his majestic 17-minute "I have a Dream" speech.

Along with other civil legal rights activists, King participated in the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. The brutal attacks on activists through the police during the march were televised into the homes of Americans across the country. As soon as the march concluded in Montgomery, King offered his "How Long, not Long" speech, in which that predicted the equal legal rights for afri Americans would be imminently granted. His legend words are widely quoted today: "How long? not long, because the arc that the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

Less than six months later, President lyndon Johnson signed the Voting rights Act banning disenfranchisement of black color Americans.

Death and also legacy

Over the next couple of years, King broadened his focus and also began speaking out versus the Vietnam War and economic issues, calling because that a bill of rights for all Americans.

In the feather of 1968, King visited Memphis, Tennessee, to assistance Black restroom workers that were top top strike. On April 4, King to be assassinated by James Earl ray in his Memphis hotel. Chairman Johnson dubbed for a nationwide day of mourning top top April 7. In 1983, congress cemented King"s heritage as an American symbol by proclaiming the 3rd Monday that every January martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, however it bends towards justice." — young name Luther King, Jr.

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King to be honored v dozens of awards and also honorary levels for his achievement throughout his life and also posthumously. In addition to receiving the Nobel peace Prize in 1964, King was awarded the Medal in 1957 and the American free Medallion through the American Jewish Committee in 1965. After his death, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of flexibility in 1977 and also received the Congressional gold Medal in 1994 v his wife, Coretta.

King"s legacy has actually inspired activists fighting injustice anywhere in the world. has brought on King"s occupational on instead of of black Americans and also strives to save his dream lively for future generations. Us take impetus from his closing remarks at the Emancipation day Rally in 1957: "I near by saying there is nothing better in every the people than freedom. It"s precious going to jail for. It"s worth losing a project for. It"s worth dying for. Mine friends, go out this evening figured out to attain this freedom which God desires for every one of His children."