Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King’s biography

Martin Luther King was a Pastor of the American Baptist Church and civil rights activist, born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Initially, he studied Sociology and continued studying until he obtained his Doctorate degree in Systematic Theology. In 1953 he married Coretta Scott, with whom he had four children: Yolanda, Martin Luther King III, Dexter and Bernice.

In 1954, while Martin Luther King was still studying for his doctorate and was only 25 years old, he was appointed Pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

In 1955, Rosa Parks, a humble black dressmaker, was arrested for failing to yield her seat on the bus to a white man. Therefore, Martin Luther King initiated a Montgomery bus boycott against the racial segregation, a non-violent protest which lasted a year.

The boycott culminated in a 1956 United States Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation on buses, restaurants, schools, and other public places.

In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Conference of Christian Leadership, a Christian and pacifist organization, whose objective was to participate actively in the non-violent protests, as part of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

For 1963, in the middle of the Birmingham Campaign, Martin Luther King was imprisoned, but upon receiving the support of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he was released the following week.

Martin Luther King organized and led marches for the right to vote for African Americans, for desegregation, for the right to work and other basic human rights.

Most of Martin Luther King’s fighting motives ended up being sanctioned as laws in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in Voting Rights Act 1965.

Martin Luther King died on April 4, 1968, assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, at the age of 39.

Martin Luther King University Studies

The Martin Luther King university studies included the following titles:

  • In 1948 he obtained his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In 1951 he completed a Bachelor of Divinity at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • And finally, in 1955, he obtained his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University, Massachusetts.

Honors and Recognitions received by Martin Luther King

Some Awards and Recognitions he received for his humanitarian work were:

  • Time Magazine Person of the Year (1963)
  • Nobel Peace Prize (1964)
  • American Jewish Committee Medal of American Freedoms (1965)
  • Pacem in Terris Award [Paz en la Tierra] (1965)
  • Margaret Sanger Award from the Family Planning Federation of America (1966)
  • Marcus Garvey Award from the Government of Jamaica (1968, posthumous)
  • Grammy Award for Best Spoken Recording for his speech Why I Oppose to the War in Vietnam? [¿Por qué me opongo a la Guerra de Vietnam?] (1971, posthumous)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Jimmy Carter (1977, posthumous)
  • United States Congress Gold Medal (2004, posthumous)

Additionally, Martin Luther King received at least 20 Honorary Doctorates from American and international universities and even today, he continues to receive posthumous awards for his non-violent struggle.

Martin Luther King Publications

Between his publications we find books and essays:

  • In 1958, Martin Luther King presented his point of view on racial segregation and the spiral of inequality and hatred in his book “Stride toward freedom; the Montgomery Story”(The March To Freedom; The Montgomery Story).
  • In 1959, he wrote the book “The measure of a man”(The Measure Of A Man), where he described an optimal structure of political, social and economic society.
  • Based on that book, he extracted the essay “What is man?”(What is a man?).
  • In 1963, while in prison, he wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail”(Letter from Birmingham Jail), an essay on his fight against segregation, which is a fiery declaration of his crusade for justice and life.
  • Wrote “Why We Can’t Wait ”(Why can’t we wait?) in 1964, a book in which he exposes his political creed with a passionate evocation of the events of the summer of 1963, of great value as historical testimony.
  • Strength to Love”(The Force to Love), 1965, is a compilation of his sermons on racial segregation in the United States.
  • In 1968, “Conscience for Change”(Consciousness for Change), book where they transcribed their lectures. It includes five talks he gave in late 1967 for the Massey Lectures of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“I have a dream”

I have a dream”Is a speech Martin Luther King gave on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, during the March on Washington.

The March on Washington for Work and Freedom was the climactic and defining moment for the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

In the speech he begins by saying that although the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed a hundred years ago, segregation still existed, despite what the proclamation promised. So he continues by saying that it was time for change and clarifying that violence is not the way, he asks for justice, with a powerful and persuasive message.

It describes what the suffering of the black race has been, through everyday examples, such as not being able to vote, not being able to enter motels, restaurants and other places. And he asks them to keep fighting, to reverse these situations, in non-violent ways.

The most moving moment of the speech is when he describes, through the famous “I have a dream”, the country he imagines for his children and his wife.

He said exactly: “I have a dream that my four young children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged on the color of their skin but on the content of their person. I have a dream today.”

Finish the speech, inviting attendees to return to their homes calmly, as they are sure that change will come and they will have a united society, putting aside their differences.

This speech is listed as one of the best in American history.

The Assassination of Martin Luther King

In support of the strike for better wages and treatment of sanitation workers, Martin Luther King traveled, in late March 1968, to Memphis, Tennessee.

While he was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, greeting his followers, he was shot dead. Hearing the shots, his collaborators ran to the balcony and found him on the ground shot.

The assassination of Martin Luther King was carried out on April 4, 1968, and he was officially declared dead at seven in the afternoon, at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

For this act, white segregationist James Earl Ray, who was sentenced to 99 years in prison, was found guilty.

President Johnson decreed a day of national mourning, the first for an African-American citizen, five days after his death.

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