"I have a dream:" Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

  • MLK Jr. Born

    MLK Jr. Born
    Martin Luther King Jr. born to schoolteacher Alberta King and Baptist minister Martin Luther King Sr. in Sweet Auburn district in Atlanta, Georgia
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    MLK Jr.'s Life and the Civil Rights Movement

    A brief collection of some of the most important moments in the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Ordained

    Dr. King is ordained to the Baptist ministry and appointed associate pastor at Ebenezer, at the young age of 19.
  • Married

    Dr. King marries Coretta Scott in Marion, Alabama
  • Separate but Equal no more

    Separate but Equal no more
    The Supreme Court of the United States rules unanimously in Brown vs. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
  • First child born

    First child born
    The Kings’ first child, Yolanda Denise, is born in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Bus Boycott Begins

    Bus Boycott Begins
    Bus boycott launched in Montgomery, Ala., after an African-American woman, Rosa Parks, is arrested December 1 for refusing to give up her seat to a white person. A meeting of movement leaders is held. Dr. King is unanimously elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association
  • Bus Boycott Ends

    Bus Boycott Ends
    The United States Supreme Court affirms the decision of the three-judge district court in declaring Alabama’s state and local laws requiring segregation on buses unconstitutional, ensuring victory for the boycott
  • SCLC created, many speeches given

    SCLC created, many speeches given
    Black ministers form what became known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King is named first president one month later. In this typical year of demonstrations, King traveled 780,000 miles and made 208 speeches.
  • Time Magazine

    Time Magazine
    Martin Luther King Jr. is featured on the cover of Time Magazine
  • First Civil Rights Act

    First Civil Rights Act
    The first Civil Rights Act since Reconstruction is passed by Congress, creating the Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
  • Second child born

    Second child born
    A second child, Martin Luther III, is born to Dr. and Mrs. King.
  • Arrested

    Dr. King is arrested on a charge of loitering (later changed to “failure to obey an officer”) in the vicinity of the Montgomery Recorder’s Court. He is released on $100.00 bond.
  • First book

    First book
    King's first book is published, "Stride Toward Freedom" (Harper), which containts his recollections of the Montgomery bus boycott.
  • Visits India

    Visits India
    Dr. and Mrs. King spend a month in India studying Gandhi’s March techniques of nonviolence as guests of Prime Minister Jawaharal Nehru. King had a lifelong admiration for Mohandas K. Gandhi, and credited Gandhi's passive resistance techniques for his civil-rights successes.
  • Lunch Counter Sit-Ins

    Lunch Counter Sit-Ins
    The first lunch counter sit-in to desegregate eating facilities is held by students in Greensboro, North Carolina, and soon after spreads across the nation. In Atlanta, King is arrested during a sit-in waiting to be served at a restaurant. He is sentenced to four months in jail, but after intervention by John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, he is released.
  • Meets JFK

    Meets JFK
    Dr. King meets with John F. Kennedy (candidate for President of the United States) about racial matters.
  • Third child born

    Third child born
    A third child, Dexter Scott, is born to Dr. and Mrs. King in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Freedom Rides begin

    Freedom Rides begin
    The first group of Freedom Riders, with the intent of integrating interstate buses, leaves Washington, D.C. by Greyhound bus. The group, organized by the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), leaves shortly after the Supreme Court has outlawed segregation in interstate transportation terminals. The bus is burned outside of Anniston, Alabama on May 14. A mob beats the Freedom Riders upon their arrival in Birmingham, Alabama. They are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • Fourth Child Born

    Fourth Child Born
    The King’s fourth child, Bernice Albertine, is born.
  • Letter From Birmingham Jail written

    Letter From Birmingham Jail written
    Arrested after demonstrating in defiance of a court order, King writes "Letter From Birmingham Jail." This eloquent letter, later widely circulated, became a classic of the civil-rights movement.
  • "I Have A Dream" speech

    "I Have A Dream" speech
    The March on Washington, the first large-scale integrated protest march, is held in Washington, D.C. Dr. King delivers his famous “I Have A Dream” speech in front of 250,000 civil-rights supporters on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Afterwards he and other Civil Rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy in the White House.
  • Man of the Year

    Man of the Year
    King appears on the cover of Time magazine again, this time as its Man of the Year.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    Dr. King attends the signing of the Public Accommodations Bill, (Part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House.
  • Audience with the Pope

    Audience with the Pope
    Dr. King has an audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
  • Nobel Peace Prize

    Nobel Peace Prize
    Dr. King receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. He is the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Peace at age 35.
  • March to Montgomery

    March to Montgomery
    Over three thousand protest marchers leave Selma for a march to Montgomery, Alabama protected by federal troops. They are joined along the way by a total of twenty-five thousand marchers. Upon reaching the capitol, they hear an address by Dr. King.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The act, which King sought, authorized federal examiners to register qualified voters and suspended devices such as literacy tests that aimed to prevent African Americans from voting.
  • Things Get Ugly

    Things Get Ugly
    Dr. King leads six thousand protesters on a march through downtown Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers. Disorder breaks out during which black youths loot stores. One sixteen-year-old is killed and fifty people are injured. This was the first time one of his events had turned violent.
  • Final Speech

    Final Speech
    Dr. King’s last speech titled “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” is delivered at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Death

    Dr. King is assassinated by James Earl Ray as he stands talking on the balcony of his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He dies in St. Joseph’s Hospital from a gunshot wound in the neck.