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Remembering Dr. King

Fifty- three years after the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. people everywhere are remembering a man who accomplished what many would never have attempted. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin Luther King was born to his mother and father were Michael King sr. and Alberta Williams King. Dr. King grew up with his two siblings, an older sister, Christine King Farris and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King.

Martin Luther King Sr. had been a world traveler and had been influenced by preachers before him who stood up for racial equality. King Sr. was a widely respected leader of a local church. He worked as a pastor for more than four decades and also served as an executive on the Atlanta board of the NAACP. After more than a year in Germany attending the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Michael King Sr. returned home and decided to change both his and his son’s name after the German protestant leader, Martin Luther .

Martin Luther King Jr. came from a family of pastors and civil rights activists beginning with his grandfather, who founded the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP and pastored at the Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia for more than 25 years. On his way to becoming a preacher, like those before him, Martin Luther King Jr. did very well academically. When he was attending Booker T. Washington high school he was able to skip ninth and twelfth grade. Dr. King worked hard to become a pastor first by earning his bachelor's degree in sociology, but then he moved on to continue studying divinity (pastoral studies) and earned his Master degree. With a few additional degrees in between, Dr. Martin Luther King wrapped up his studies with a doctoral degree in theology from Boston University in 1955.

Tugging on the very stitching of America’s beliefs Dr. King worked for years to better the rights for black Americans. Being born to Martin Luther King Sr. a civil rights activist of his time and Alberta Williams King. It was almost inevitable that King would be involved in the civil rights movement, but who could have fathomed he would be the one to make major change.

The 60’s in America was one of the most violent periods in America’s history. With the Vietnam war, antiwar protest and political assassinations it’s was important to note Martin Luther King decided to make a change in black Americans civil rights with non violence. While Martin Luther King was gearing up for his moment to elicit change in states, Mahatma Gandhi was over India also seeking justice and equality for his people. Although Gandhi was a bit before Dr. King’s era and they never had the chance to meet King was able to learn from Gandhi’s nonviolent ways. The teachings of Gandhi helped India gain freedom from the British.

King was very active in the civil rights movement leading marches for voting rights, desegregation and labor rights. These events led up to Dr. King Leading the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. The buss boycott was in an effort to end public transit, racial segregation, in Montgomery, Alabama. The boycott lasted for one year and fifteen days and was one of the biggest stands American had taken to end racial segregation. This led to the federal ruling Browder v. Gayle decided that segregated buses were unconstitutional.

Martin Luther King is known for so many amazing things. Dr. King was the youngest person to have received a Nobel Peace prize for the work he did for individual’s human rights. Did you know Martin Luther King even received a Grammy Award in 1971 for the best spoken word album for kids? Dr. King went on to achieve the congressional medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter in 2004.

Dr. Martin Luther King worked until his last day, but things began to change towards the end. The last protest Dr. King held the “March on Washington” on March 28th, 1968. That protest ended in violence and tragically a young teenager died. The March on Washington was to support the African American sanitation workers who were receiving poor treatment in the workplace. After that event Martin Luther King told the town he would return to continue supporting the movement, but sadly that day would never come. Unfortunately, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on the balcony of the hotel Lorraine on April 4th 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia the following day.


Learning Resources

Support your students learning and remembering MLK with these engaging resources below. All Resources are print - N _ Go ready. Check out the shop for more learning resources.


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