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Martin Luther King, Jr.
Transcript of Martin Luther King, Jr.
we honor the memory of
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
clergyman, activist, and prominent leader
in the African-American Civil Rights Movement
Martin Luther King, Jr.
was born on January 15, 1929,
in Atlanta, Georgia.
Fragment from the
"I Have A Dream" speech
He became pastor of the
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
in Montgomery, Alabama,
when he was
twenty-five years old.
King married Coretta Scott
on June 18, 1953
King's childhood home
His original name was “Michael King, Jr.,” until the family traveled to Europe in 1934 and visited Germany. His father soon changed both of their names in honor of the German Protestant leader Martin Luther.
Luther in 1533 by
Lucas Cranach the Elder
was a German priest, professor of theology
and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation.
He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money.
They had four children;
Martin Luther King III,
Dexter Scott King,
and Bernice King.
(1483 - 1546)
Inspired by Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism, King visited Gandhi’s birthplace in India in 1959.
The trip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of non-violent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
(1869 – 1948)
was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. Pioneering the use of non-violent resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience to achieve political and social progress based upon ahimsa, or total nonviolence for which he is internationally renowned.
King was also said to be influenced by Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Mays, Hosea Williams, Bayard Rustin, Henry David Thoreau, Howard Thurman and Leo Tolstoy.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passanger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, as was habitual at the time. As a result, King helped organize The Montgomery Bus Boycott.
For 385 days, local African-Americans avoided public transport, causing a critical decrease in public transport revenues.
The situation became so tense that King’s house was bombed and he was also arrested at one point. In the end however, the United States District Court ruled to end racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses.
King and Rosa Parks
King on the cover of Time magazine
on Februay 18, 1957.
In 1957, King, Ralph Abernathy, and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
The group was created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform.
King, representing SCLC, was among the leaders of the so-called “Big Six” civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on August 28, 1963. It was at this event that King gave his electrifying “I Have A Dream” speech.
More than a quarter million people of diverse ethnicities attended the event, at the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington’s history.
King’s speech electrified the crowd. It is regarded, along with Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech, as one of the finest speeches in the history of American oratory.
In the following years, King and the SLCL continued to spread their vision of desegregation all over the USA
with great success.
They weren't always welcome. In the slums of west Chicago, their marches were met by thrown bottles, screaming crowds and near riot circumstances.
King, who received several death threats was hit by a brick during one of these marches but continued to lead-on even in the face of personal danger.
In New York City on April 4, 1967, he delivered
a speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”. He spoke strongly against the U.S.’s role in the war, insisting that the U.S. was in Vietnam “to occupy it as an American colony” and calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”.
On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated
by escaped convict James Earl Ray, who was
arrested two months later and received life
Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy gave a short speech to the gathering of supporters informing them of the tragedy and urging them to continue King’s ideal of non-violence. He was assassinated two months later.
Coretta Scott King
at the funeral
President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning for the civil rights leader.
At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. Observed for the first time on January 20, 1986, it is called Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
On January 17, 2000, for the first time, Martin Luther
King Jr. Day was officially observed in all fifty U.S. states.
Interesting Facts About Martin Luther King, Jr.
10, January 2010 article on itTHING by Limoge
and corresponding Wikipedia articles
Montgomery Bus Boycott
"I Have A Dream" speech
signing the bill
In the same year, King wrote The Measure of A Man, from which the piece What is Man?, an attempt to sketch the optimal political, social, and economic structure of society, is derived.
The Measure of a Man
"Beyond Vietnam" speech