Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Martin Luther King was born

  • King begins his freshman year at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

  • The Atlanta Constitution publishes King’s letter to the editor stating that black people "are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens."

  • King married Coretta Scott

  • King begins his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

  • At 9:15 p.m., while King speaks at a mass meeting, his home is bombed. His wife and daughter are not injured. Later King addresses an angry crowd that gathers outside the house, pleading for nonviolence.

  • Yolanda Denise King, the Kings’ first child, is born.

  • At a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) is formed. King becomes its president.

  • King appears on the cover of Time magazine.

  • King attends the independence celebrations of the new nation of Ghana in West Africa and meets with Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah.

  • At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., King delivers his first national address, "Give Us The Ballot," at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom.

  • Coretta King gives birth to their second child, Martin, III.

  • King and other civil rights leaders meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington.

  • King’s first book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story is published.

  • During a book signing at Blumstein’s Department Store in Harlem, New York, King is stabbed by Izola Ware Curry. He is rushed to Harlem Hospital where a team of doctors successfully remove a seven-inch letter opener from his chest.

  • King moves from Montgomery to Atlanta to devote more time to SCLC and the freedom struggle. He becomes assistant pastor to his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

  • King meets privately in New York with Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

  • Dexter Scott, King’s third child, is born.

  • King meets with President John F. Kennedy and urges him to issue a second Emancipation Proclamation to eliminate racial segregation.

  • During the closing session of the SCLC conference in Birmingham, Alabama, a member of the American Nazi Party assaults King, striking him twice in the face.

  • Bernice Albertine, King’s fourth child, is born.

  • I have a dream

    The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom attracts more than two hundred thousand demonstrators to the Lincoln Memorial. Organized by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, the march is supported by all major civil rights organizations as well as by many labor and religious groups. King delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • King is named "Man of the Year" by Time Magazine.

  • King meets Malcolm X in Washington, D.C. for the first and only time.

  • King is arrested and jailed for demanding service at a white-only restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida.

  • King receives the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. He declares that "every penny" of the $54,000 award will be used in the ongoing civil rights struggle.

  • In an event that will become known as "Bloody Sunday," voting rights marchers are beaten at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as they attempt to march to Montgomery.

  • King, James Forman, and John Lewis lead civil rights marchers from Selma to Montgomery after a U.S. District judge upholds the right of demonstrators to conduct an orderly march.

  • King leads a march of six thousand protesters in support of striking sanitation workers in Memphis. The march descends into violence and looting, and King is rushed from the scene.

  • King returns to Memphis, determined to lead a peaceful march. During an evening rally at Mason Temple in Memphis, King delivers his final speech, "I’ve Been to the Mountaintop."

  • King is shot and killed while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

  • King is buried in Atlanta.