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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Famous People Film Social Studies American History African American History Civil Rights Legends and Legendary People Ethics

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was America's greatest civil-rights leader of the 20th-century.

We learn more about Dr. King from the Library of Congress:

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., twentieth-century America's most compelling and effective civil rights leader, was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.

After entering Morehouse College at age fifteen, King followed his father and grandfather into the Baptist ministry. He received a bachelor of divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951 and a Ph.D from Boston University in 1955.

King entered the civil rights movement in 1955. A young, newly married pastor of a Montgomery, Alabama church, he was asked to lead a bus boycott aimed at ending segregation of public transport in Montgomery.

The boycott, initiated by Rosa Parks' refusal to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, lasted over a year and resulted in the desegregation of the city's busses.

A founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King advocated non-violent action as a means of lifting racial oppression. Sit-ins, marches, and peaceful demonstrations highlighted issues of inequality.

The commitment and moral integrity of activists who remained calm in the face of violent opposition inspired national admiration. Jailed during an Alabama campaign to abolish segregated lunch counters, King delineated his philosophy of nonviolence in the now famous "Letter From the Birmingham Jail."

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Media Credits

Image online, courtesy U.S. Library of Congress.

Text quoted above from the U.S. Library of Congress, American Memory, January 15th.

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