Martin Luther King, Jr Fact Sheet: Who was Martin Luther King, Jr? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact File: Lifespan: 1929 - 1968 *** Full Name: Martin Luther King, Jr although his legal name from birth was Michael King, as was his father, his father changed their names in honor of the German reformer Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) *** Occupation: Baptist Minister *** Date of Birth: He was born on January 15th 1929 *** Place of Birth: He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA *** Family background: His father was Reverent Martin Luther King, Sr and an American Baptist pastor, missionary and American Civil Rights activist and his mother was Alberta Williams King. Of three children he had an older sister Willie Christine and a younger brother Alfred Daniel *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Atlanta and would regularly attend churches with his mother, an accomplished choir leader and organist, to sing *** Education: He was educated at Booker T Washington High School ***
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 1: He was born during a turbulent time in the 20th century when civil unrest was rife, the Cold War had begun and African-Americans united over the Civil Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 2: As a small boy he befriended a white boy and they were strong friends until they reached school age, at six years they both attended different schools and the white boy’s father was no longer happy with their association.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 3: He became well known for his outspokenness and public speaking at school as part of the debate team.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 4: One of the key turning points in his young life was a journey on the bus after school. He happened to be travelling with this teacher and was told by the driver to let the white people sit down. Initially refusing, his teacher made it clear that it was breaking the law to refuse.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 5: He graduated in 1948 from Morehouse College at eighteen years of age and registered at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania graduating in 1951.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 6: He would eventually finish his education to become pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama when he was just twenty five years of age.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 7: Of all the commandments the one that struck the strongest cord with him was - loving your neighbor as yourself.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 8: A strong believer in God’s will, this was the substance of his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 9: He was initially a believer of self-defense.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 10: He was would become an advocate of nonviolence and so he listened strongly to the words and advice of Bayard Rustin together with Harris Wofford and Glenn Smiley, both white activists and both students of Gandhi’s teachings.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 11: During 1955 a young black woman refused to give up her seat on the bus. The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted for 385 days. The situation became so fraught, his house was bombed. But the campaign won out and the segregation on buses was ended across all Montgomery public buses.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 12: The Montgomery Bus Boycott saw his popularity soar, he became a national figure and spokesman for the civil rights movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 13: In 1957 he became the President of and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 14: In April of 1959 he had secured enough funds to make the longed for trip to India. He was asked to make a radio broadcast in India before his departure and in it he stated “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.”
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 15: In 1961 he became involved in what would become known as the Albany Movement, a coalition for desegregation in the city Albany, Georgia. Although he would not be successful in this instance he would learn valuable lessons.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 16: The SCLC moved on the Birmingham, Alabama for its next campaign against economic injustice and racial segregation organizing sit ins and marches. The situation escalated to the point where the local police department deployed water jets and police dogs to disperse the crowds and this broadcast on national television. Ultimately the campaign would succeed for the most part.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 17: In 1963 the March on Washington was organized by the Big Six and would be this event that included his “I Have a Dream” speech. A speech that, decades later, would become known as one of the finest speeches given in the history of the United States of America.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 18: Not wanting to become involved in the topic of the Vietnam War even though he was strongly opposed to it, he would nevertheless be put in a position by 1967 where he gave a speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”. One of the main reasons for opposing the war was the money it took away from social welfare issues. This view did not do his cause much good when it came to some of his white supporters.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 19: The Poor People’s Campaign was organized by SCLC in 1968. The campaign involved a March on Washington DC demanding financial aid for the most deprived communities of America.
Martin Luther King, Jr Fact 20: On April 4th, 1968, outside room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, he was shot. He died at St Joseph’s Hospital after emergency surgery. His remains were first laid to rest at the South View Cemetery specifically used for African Americans. Later his remains were exhumed in 1977 and laid to rest in the plaza between the King Centre and Ebenezer later to be joined by his wife Coretta.
Influence & Legacy: He would leave behind a better world, days after his death Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. His name would go down in history next to the likes of Mohandas K Gandhi and he would be honored with a public holiday given in his name. He would be mourned across the globe and looked up to as someone to aspire to be like.
Important Events of the 20th century and during the life of Martin Luther King, Jr include: The Great Depression, World War II, the Space Race between the USA and USSR and the Vietnam War.
List of Famous Awards Martin Luther King, Jr: *** Nobel Peace Prize *** Presidential Medal of Freedom *** Congressional Gold Medal ***