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Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. By this time, King was a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation.

He was ready, then, early in December 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott, which lasted 382 days.

December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the US declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, blacks + whites rode the buses as equals. During the boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank!

Dr. King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, in 1957, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement.

Between 1957 and 1968, King traveled six million+ miles & spoke over 2500 times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; while writing five books + numerous articles.

King also led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, providing what he called a coalition of conscience and inspiring his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters.

On August 28, 1963, 100+ yrs after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Dr. King climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to describe his vision of America. More than 250,000 people-black + white-came to listen. Traveling by plane, by car, by bus, by train, & by foot, to demand equal rights for black people; & that speech became the dream of a generation!

Dr. King also consulted with President Kennedy & campaigned for President Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times & assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; & became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks, but also a world figure.

At the age of 35, Dr. King., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize & decided to turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, was assassinated, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city.

SOURCE: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/biographical/

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