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Martin Luther King Jr

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Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. King's father was born "Michael King", and Martin Luther King, Jr. was initially named "Michael King, Jr.", until 1935, when "his father changed both of their names to Martin to honor the German Protestant (Martin Luther)."[2] He had an older sister, Willie Christine (September 11, 1927) and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel (July 30, 1930 вЂ" July 1, 1969). King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind. He entered Morehouse College at age fifteen, skipping his ninth and twelfth high school grades without formally graduating. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) degree in 1951. In September 1951, King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) on June 5, 1955[3]. In 1953, at age 24, King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

Civil rights activism, 1953вЂ"1968

Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955

At 11 am December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to comply with the Jim Crow laws that required her to give up her seat to a white man. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, urged and planned by E. D. Nixon (head of the Montgomery NAACP chapter and a member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) and led by King, soon followed. (In March 1955, a 15-year-old school girl, Claudette Colvin, had to give up her seat, but King did not then become involved.[4]) The boycott lasted for 385 days, the situation becoming so tense that King's house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

King was instrumental in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, a group 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 continued to dominate the organization. In 1958, while signing copies of his book "Strive Toward Freedom" in a Harlem department store, he was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener by a deranged black woman, Izola Curry, and narrowly escaped death.

King was an adherent of the philosophies of nonviolent civil disobedience as described in Henry David Thoreau's essay of the same name,[5] and used successfully in India by "the Mahatma", Mohandas K. Gandhi. King applied this philosophy to the protests organized by the SCLC. In 1959, he wrote The Measure of A Man, from which the piece What is Man?, an attempt to sketch the optimal political, social,



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