Martin Luther King, Jr’s Life and Works

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael Luther on January 15, 1929. He later changed his name to Martin. Martin Luther, both an activist and clergyman, is known to be one of the most prominent leaders in the African-American civil rights movement.

He grew up in the segregated southern States during the time when African-Americans were ostracized and discriminated against. He attended public school in Georgia and graduated high school at the age of fifteen. In 1948, he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Morehouse College, a distinguished African-American institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated.

While attending graduate school in Boston, Martin met his future wife, Coretta Scott, a strong and powerful woman who shared his views and cared deeply about civil rights. They were married soon after and eventually had four children, two sons and two daughters.

It was no surprise that Martin became a pastor as his father and grandfather were both pastors at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Up until his death, he served as co-pastor alongside his father. Aside from being considered as one of the civil rights icon, he was recognized as a martyr by two Christian churches in America.

On August 28, 1963, the peaceful march in Washington took place. He gave his “I Have A Dream” speech to more than 250,000 people who gathered to hear the famous national speaker from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Later that year, he was named as Time’s Man of the Year.

He was arrested several times and became a target of violent threats. After one of his arrests, he wrote the famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, narrating his beliefs and hopes for the future of America. His many protests helped convince the U.S. Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act made it illegal to treat African-Americans or other ethnic groups unfairly.

It was the same year (1964), at the age of 35, he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil obedience and other non-violent means. In the spring of 1968, he travelled to Memphis, Tennessee to lead the protest in support of African American garbage workers to give them better working conditions. While standing on the balcony of his motel room, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray, a convict who had escaped from jail.

Martin Luther King, Jr. will always be remembered for his unselfish devotion to raise public consciousness in America and the peaceful means he used to make the changes. Martin Luther King, Jr Day is annually celebrated on the third Monday of January. This MLK Day, take a moment to remember how one life, devoted to the good of others, can make a huge impact on the world.

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