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Slaves were brought to America by Kings and a King was destined to empower former slaves. This King was born in Atlanta, Georgia at high noon. The day was January 15, 1929. This King's name was destined to become - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His original name was Michael but was changed to Martin. He grew up in the home of his parents - Alberta & Martin King. The Kings lived in Atlanta, GA. Martin's father and grandfather were Baptist ministers. King's grandfather on his mother's side (Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams) founded Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. This church was one of the most influential black churches in Atlanta at the time. At an early age Martin learned how effective his father and grandfather used the pulpit to champion the cause of the "Negro". His grandfather felt so strongly about the cause that he was a charter member of the city's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Martin's father helped to organize a successful boycott against one of the local newspapers that laughed at the "Negro's" that were seeking equal education. After all, they reasoned, the "Negro" is lucky to have the privilege of getting an education in the first place. Against this backdrop of racial tension, injustice and inequity a young Martin Luther grew up. As a young child he was not satisfied with the status quo. He wanted to make a change, but how? At the young age of 13 Martin got a job at the Atlanta Journal. He became the youngest assistant manager of a newspaper delivery station for the company. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta. This school was the first public high school for Blacks in Atlanta. King was an exceptional student and skipped the 9th grade and 12th grade. Having skipped two grades, he entered college at the young age of 15. King entered Morehouse College in Atlanta at a very young age. This did not prevent him from taking and passing classes like History, Composition, Reading, Biology, Elementary French, Introduction to General Literature, Matter and Energy and a host of other college level courses. Based on his belief in education, he was sure that these courses would one day come in handy - how right he was! While in school the student paper published his article "The Purpose of Education". The influences of his grandfather (a Baptist minister), father (a Baptist minister), Benjamin E. Mays (President of Morehouse) and George D. Kelsey (Professor of Religion) were instrumental in shaping his decision to become a minister. In 1948 King is ordained and appointed assistant pastor at Ebenezer and receives his bachelor of Arts in sociology from Morehouse College. In 1948, he was accepted to Crozer Theological Seminary. He was an excellent student, winning the Pearl Plafker Award (for the most outstanding student), becoming senior class president and receiving a fellowship to do graduate work at any university of his choice. Clearly his earlier educational decisions are paying off. Martin Luther King Jr., choose the prestigious Ivy League school - The Boston University School of Theology. While at Boston University, he begins to court a student who attends class at the New England Conservatory of Music. She is from a small town named Heiberger, Alabama and her name is Corretta Scott. On June 18, 1953 on the lawn of Coretta Scott's parents (Obadiah and Bernice McMurray Scott), Martin was wed to Coretta. They were blessed with four children; Yolanda Denise, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott and Bernice Albertine. In 1954 Martin Luther King accepted the pastorship of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. During his tenure at the church he completed his doctoral dissertation - "A comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman". In 1955 he received his Ph.D from Boston University and from now on would be addressed: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King's exposure to non-violent civil disobedience was shaped by Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience, Walter Rauschenbush's Christianity and the Social Crisis, Dr. Mordecai Johnson's sermon on the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi and his personal feelings about right and wrong. Across town one afternoon a seamstress tired and on her way home from work had her own thoughts about right and wrong - Her name was Rosa Parks. She was coming home from work and was tired. Physically tired and mentally tired of the humiliating segregation policies of the time. The Montgomery, Alabama bus system had a policy that stated "Negro's must ride in the back of the bus and Whites would ride in the front. In the event that a white person did not have a seat - a Negro was required to give up his or her seat. This was one such day and Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. The bus driver called the police and Rosa Parks was arrested and released on $100 bond. Jo Ann Robinson and others called for a boycott of the bus system. Years later Rosa would write about that day in her book, Quiet Strength (Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), "Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it,.." "I kept thinking about my mother and my grandparents, and how strong they were. I knew there was a possibility of being mistreated, but an opportunity was being given to me to do what I had asked of others." The boycott was set for Monday, December 5, 1955. The day Rosa Parks is to be tried. On this day the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) is formed by leaders in the black community and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is named president. It is now at this crucial moment that Dr. Kings training and leadership skills are put into action. A formal boycott of the bus system is called. Numerous meetings are held nightly to update the residents on the status of the case. Thousands of leaflets are printed and distributed in the community. The Negro community pulls together. They car-pool and walk to work. "The Establishment" did not take this boycott sitting down. Dr. King's house was bombed, he received threatening telephone calls and was arrested and thrown in jail while car pooling. Over 100 car poolers are ticketed within a short time. After more than 365 days of boycotting, car pooling, non-violent expression of civil disobedience and legal proceedings by Robert Carter, (counsel for the NAACP) the U.S. District Court panel rules (in the case of Broder v. Gayle) that segregation on Alabama and Montgomery's intrastate buses in unconstitutional. The Alabama Public Service Commission formally asks the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the federal court's June decision. The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the lower court opinion and issues a mandate to Montgomery officials. U.S. Marshalls deliver the injunction to Alabama. That same evening King holds mass meetings of the MIA and the attendees vote to end the boycott. Dr. Martin Luther King has won his first battle on his way to the mountain top. He was now seen as a leader of the Black people. A battle has been won, but the war is far from over. In 1957 he is voted to head the Southern Leaders Conference (later known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference). In 1959 Dr. King left Montgomery to become pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. King's schedule for the next few years was very busy. He traveled to Ghana, Nigeria and Ghana in Africa and extensively within the United States delivering speeches and addresses. During one such engagement, a book signing, he was stabbed in the chest by a deranged Black woman - Izola Ware Curry. He visited India, the home of Gandhi this same year. In 1960 the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed. In February students (four) started a "sit in" in an effort to desegregate public eating facilities. The movement spread and soon pool, libraries, beaches and parks became part of the movement. That was 1960. Presidential candidate Senator John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meet. In 1961 he continues the movement against segregation in Albany, GA. This time the movement fails to make headway. Dr. King regroups and leads a series of successful non-violent demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama. During this movement he was put in jail. From his jail cell he wrote the now famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." A few days later Birmingham police use fire hoses and dogs against "Children's Crusade". Over 1000 youngsters are arrested. Television cameras capture the horrific scenes from Birmingham and beam them directly into the homes of millions. Americans, for the first time can feel the injustice that the southern Blacks had to endure. Less than 2 weeks after the Children's Crusade, the motel that King is staying at (The Gaston Motel) is bombed. The home of King's brother, The Reverend A.D. King is also bombed. Within days Federal troops arrive in Birmingham to restore peace. On June 11, 1963 President Kennedy announces a new civil rights proposal. Still full of energy, Dr. King delivers his famous "I have a Dream" speech to the marchers on Washington, at the Lincoln Memorial, where the Civil Rights Bill was pending. Over two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) came to hear the speeches made that day. Kings hard work did not go un-noticed. He was selected as Time's "Man of the Year", and later in 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his adherence to the principals of nonviolence and for setting an example for others who sought for change peacefully in other areas of the world. King tried to transfer his methods of non violence to the west coast and the north east, but met with little success in these areas. In 1965 he returned to the South and helped to bring about the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1966, he again headed north with limited success. On July 10, 1966 "Freedom Sunday" was held at Soldier's Field in an effort to make Chicago an "open city" for housing. By August a "Summit Agreement" is reached with Mayor R. Daley and other Chicago leaders. By 1967, Dr. King spoke out against the war in Vietnam. He felt that the war was draining the country's resources. He felt that the citizens of the United States should fight poverty, misery and disease rather than the Vietcong. In 1967 he called for a "Poor Peoples March on Washington". On March 18, 1968 Dr. King speaks to striking sanitation workers in Memphis. Ten days later he leads a march that is disrupted by violence. On April 3, 1968 he delivers, what is to be his final speech at Bishop Charles J. Mason Temple in Memphis. "We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I have been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind.Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land.I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" On April 4, 1968, while outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee a sniper's bullet violently and tragically ended the life of a man who stood firm for non-violence. Funeral Services for Dr. King were held on April 9, 1968 in Atlanta. Two services were held, one at Ebenezer Baptist Church and the other at Morehouse College. The President of the United States ordered that all flags be flown at half staff and proclaimed a day of mourning.
racial segregation, the practice of restricting people to certain circumscribed areas of residence or to separate institutions (e.g., schools, churches) and facilities (parks, playgrounds, restaurants, restrooms) on the basis of race or alleged race. Racial segregation provides a means of maintaining the economic advantages and superior social status of the politically dominant group, and in recent times it has been employed primarily by white populations to maintain their ascendancy over other groups by means of legal and social color bars. Historically, however, various conquerors--among them Asian Mongols, African Bantus, and American Aztecs--have practiced discrimination involving the segregation of subject races. Racial segregation has appeared in all parts of the world where there are multiracial communities, except where racial amalgamation has occurred on a large scale, as in Hawaii and Brazil. In such countries there has been occasional social discrimination but not legal segregation. In the Southern states of the United States, on the other hand, legal segregation in public facilities was current from the late 19th century into the 1950s. (See Jim Crow Law.) The Civil Rights Movement was initiated by Southern blacks in the 1950s and '60s to break the prevailing pattern of racial segregation. This movement spurred the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which contained strong provisions against discrimination and segregation in voting, education, and the use of public facilities. Elsewhere, racial segregation was practiced with the greatest rigor in South Africa, where, under the apartheid system, it was an official government policy from 1950 until the early 1990s. Source: http://danandmary.com/his1121ass2.htm In a move that gave racial inequality and segregation an air of legitimacy for the next half century, the Supreme Court’s Plessy vs. Ferguson decision in 1896 required railroads to provide "separate but equal" accommodations for black and white citizens. The case involved Homer Plessy, a black man who defied the laws of the land and sat in the white section of a railroad car. Plessy was initially fined $25, but he contested the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. The high court upheld the state’s separate but equal doctrine. Plessy vs. Ferguson led to more than just separate railroad cars. Schools, restaurants, courthouses, bathrooms and even drinking fountains were also segregated. The law influenced most kinds of interaction between blacks and whites. The decision also helped fuel racial violence throughout the country. About 3,000 southern blacks were lynched or burned to death between 1882 and 1900. Southerners also enacted notorious "Jim Crow" laws that separated whites and blacks, and all but denied blacks any kind of voting privileges. blacks coped with these laws by moving to the somewhat more tolerant North. Nearly 6 million blacks migrated North from 1919 to 1950, a movement known as the Great Migration. The church, always the cornerstone of life and culture for African Americans in the South, provided hope for blacks during this awful period. Even after migrating to the North, the familiar refrains of hymns and spirituals provided a welcome to those who moved from the South. As the 20th century dragged on, equality for blacks slowly inched forward. By 1946, President Harry Truman’s Committee on Civil Rights found massive injustices drawn along racial lines. But the U.S. Congress still failed to pass any Civil Rights legislation. Finally, in 1954, the Supreme Court undid Plessy vs. Ferguson by issuing its decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education case. In 1950, 9-year-old Linda Brown of Topeka, Kan., was banned from attending an all-white school. Argued all the way to the Supreme Court by NAACP lawyer and rising legal star Thurgood Marshall, Brown vs. Board of Education banned segregation and ordered all state and local governments to immediately integrate their schools. Source: http://www.blackvoices.com/feature/bhm_00/plessy.htm
Martin skipped 9th and 12th grade. He was very smart. He attended college at age 15!
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat “whites only” on the bus to a white – she was arrested. Dr. King organized a boycott (with Reverend Ralph Abernathy) by blacks of public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama on Dec. 5, 1955 for more than a year. This and other actions of civil disobedience helped black Americans gain Civil Rights. A seamstress tired and on her way home from work had her own thoughts about right and wrong - Her name was Rosa Parks. She was coming home from work and was tired. Physically tired and mentally tired of the humiliating segregation policies of the time. The Montgomery, Alabama bus system had a policy that stated "Negro's must ride in the back of the bus and Whites would ride in the front. In the event that a white person did not have a seat - a Negro was required to give up his or her seat. This was one such day and Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. The bus driver called the police and Rosa Parks was arrested and released on $100 bond. Jo Ann Robinson and others called for a boycott of the bus system.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr . Mar t in Lut her King
JApr . 4, 1968
J an 15, 1929 –
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
in Montgomery, Alabama
Martin is Born
Martin Luther King, Jr. is born to Rev. and Mrs.
Martin Luther King, Sr. (former Alberta Christine
Williams) in Atlanta, Georgia.
January 15, 1929
Largely because of Plessy v. Ferguson, racial segregation
reigned supreme in the South from the 1890's until the 1950's.
As a young boy, Martin had to see the
inequality, injustice and racial tension
that was in America. He did not like
Martin and his big
1935 – 1944
Dr. King attends David T. Howard Elementary School,
Atlanta University Laboratory School, and Booker T. Washington
High School. He passes the entrance examination to Morehouse
College in Atlanta, Georgia without graduating from high school.
Dr. King is licensed to preach.
Dr. King is ordained to the Baptist ministry and appointed
associate pastor at Ebenezer.
Dr. King graduates from Morehouse College with a BA degree in Sociology.
Dr. King enters Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.
After hearing Dr. A. J. Muste and Dr. Mordecai W. Johnson preach on
the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, he begins to study Gandhi
Influenced by Gandhi
Dr. King with wife Coretta
Rosa Parks - 1955
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat
on the bus to a white - she was arrested.