Martin Luther King

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is born.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is born.
    January 15, 1929 when Michael Luther King Jr. (later known as Martin Luther King Jr.) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were Baptist minister Michael Luther King and Schoolteacher Alberta King.
    In due course his father changed both of their names to Martin to honor the German Protestant, Martin Luther.
  • Martin Luther King attends college

    Martin Luther King attends college
    Martin Luther King Jr. was a very bright and gifted student. after skipping grades nine and twelve he attended Morehouse College. He did not intend to become a minister like his father and grandfather until the President of the school convinced him, and he was ordained and obtained a degree in sociology.
  • King graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta.

    King earns a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta. He is not a particularly good student and is not sure what he wanted to do with his life, considering both law and medicine.
  • September 1948

    King decides to devote his life to God and enrolls in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Here, he is an excellent student and what he learns in school will shape many of his ideas for the rest of his life.
  • Dr. Martin's marriage

    Dr. Martin's marriage
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was married on June 18, 1953. He married Coretta Scott. They met in college and were both activists for civil rights. Coretta was a singer and she incorporated her music into her civil rights work.
  • King is elected the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.

    King is elected the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.
    After Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a bus and is arrested, Montgomery African Americans refuse to ride the buses. A group called the Montgomery Improvement Association forms and elects 26 year-old King as its president.
  • King's house is bombed.

    King's house is bombed.
    While speaking at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, King's house is bombed by whites who are unhappy with the bus boycott. Despite the bombing, King encouraged the African Americans who had gathered at his home to not respond with violence.
  • King is elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

    King is elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
    The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is formed by churches in the South to help coordinate more boycotts because the Montgomery bus boycott is a success. King is elected the president of the SCLC.
  • King's first book, "Stride Toward Freedom" is published.

    King's first book, "Stride Toward Freedom" is published.
    King writes a book about the Montgomery bus boycotts and "Stride Toward Freedom" is published. A mentally ill woman stabs him with a letter opener at a book-signing event in Harlem.
  • King is arrested in Atlanta.

    King is arrested while participating at a protest called a "sit-in" at a department store in Atlanta. Because he had a traffic ticket earlier in the year, a judge sends King to state prison, but Robert Kennedy calls the judge and King is released on October 27.
  • King is arrested in Birmingham, Alabama.

    King is arrested in Birmingham, Alabama.
    King is arrested while participating at a protest called a "sit-in" at a department store in Atlanta. Because he had a traffic ticket earlier in the year, a judge sends King to state prison, but Robert Kennedy calls the judge and King is released on October 27.
  • King gives his "I Have a Dream" speech.

    King gives his "I Have a Dream" speech.
    The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is held in Washington, D.C. to try and gain support for the Civil Rights Act. King gives his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
  • King wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

    King wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
    King is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the Civil Rights Movement. He is praised for calling for peaceful resistance to discrimination against African Americans.
  • King gives the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech.

    Speaking at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, King gives a speech about the Memphis Sanitation Strike. In the speech, which has come to be known as "I've Been to the Mountaintop," King speaks about the possibility that he may not live to see the end of discrimination against African Americans.
  • King is assassinated in Memphis

    King is assassinated in Memphis
    While standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, King is assassinated by James Earl Ray. Riots break out in over 100 cities in the U.S. and over 20,000 people are arrested.
  • Martin Luther King is rewarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Martin Luther King is rewarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
    9 years after his death, for his tireless work in promoting civil rights for all citizens, President Jimmy Carter resolved to posthumously award Martin Luther King the Presidential Medal of Freedom.