Martin Luther King (MLK) timeline of his life

  • MLK's birth

    MLK's birth
    Michael King, later known as Martin Luther King, Jr., is born at 501 Auburn Ave. in Atlanta, Georgia. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • King begins College

    King begins College
    King begins his freshman year at Morehouse College in Atlanta. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • Atlanta Constitution publishes a letter from MLK to an editor

    Atlanta Constitution publishes a letter from MLK to an editor
    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." https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK becomes Ebenezer Baptist Church

    MLK becomes Ebenezer Baptist Church
    King is ordained and appointed assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK receives a degree at Morehouse College

    MLK receives a degree at Morehouse College
    King receives his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Morehouse College. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK begins his studies in Pennsylvania

    MLK begins his studies in Pennsylvania
    King begins his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • King graduates from Cozer with degree!

    King graduates from Cozer with degree!
    King graduates from Crozer with a bachelor of divinity degree, delivering the valedictory address at commencement. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK begins studies at Boston University!

    MLK begins studies at Boston University!
    King begins his graduate studies in systematic theology at Boston University. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK gets married!

    MLK gets married!
    King and Coretta Scott are married at the Scott home near Marion, Alabama. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK begins his pastorate...

    King begins his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • King was awarded his doctorate! :D

    King is awarded his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK had his first child!

    MLK had his first child!
  • Rosa Parks' arrest...

    Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to vacate her seat and move to the rear of a city bus in Montgomery to make way for a white passenger. Jo Ann Robinson and other Women’s Political Council members mimeograph thousands of leaflets calling for a one-day boycott of the city’s buses on Monday, 5 December. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • King becomes president of MIA!

    King becomes president of MIA!
    At a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) is formed. King becomes its president. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK gets a threatening phone call...

    MLK gets a threatening phone call...
    According to King’s later account in Stride Toward Freedom, he receives a threatening phone call late in the evening, prompting a spiritual revelation that fills him with the strength to carry on in spite of persecution. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK HOUSE IS BOMBED!

    MLK HOUSE IS BOMBED!
    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.
  • Segregation laws for buses declared unconstitutional...

    Segregation laws for buses declared unconstitutional...
    The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the lower court opinion in Browder v. Gayle declaring Montgomery and Alabama bus segregation laws unconstitutional. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK is among the first passengers to ride the buses in an integrated fashion.

    MLK  is among the first passengers to ride the buses in an integrated fashion.
    Montgomery City Lines resumes full service on all routes. King is among the first passengers to ride the buses in an integrated fashion.
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SCLC).

    Southern black ministers meet in Atlanta to share strategies in the fight against segregation. King is named chairman of the Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration (later known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SCLC).
  • King appears on the cover of a Time Magazine!

    King appears on the cover of a Time Magazine!
  • King attends the independence celebrations of the new nation

    King attends the independence celebrations of the new nation of Ghana in West Africa and meets with Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah.
  • King delivers his first national address, "Give Us The Ballot."

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

    King and Ralph D. Abernathy meet with Vice President Richard M. Nixon and issue a statement on their meeting.
  • King's 2nd child is born!

    King's 2nd child is born!
    Coretta King gives birth to their second child, Martin, III. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • King and other civil rights leaders

    King and other civil rights leaders
    King and other civil rights leaders meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington.
  • King’s first book Stride Toward Freedom

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

    King gets stabbed!
    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! https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • King meets many of Gandhi's followers and a Prime minister!

    King embarks on a month-long visit to India where he meets with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and many of Gandhi’s followers.
    https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-resources/major-king-events-chronology-1929-1968
  • MLK becomes assistant pastor to his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

    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 is found not guilty

    King is found not guilty of tax fraud by a white jury in Montgomery.
  • King meets with John F. Kennedy!

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

    MLK Arrested!
    King is arrested during a sit-in demonstration at Rich’s department store in Atlanta. He is sentenced to four months hard labor for violating probation conditions he had received earlier that year for driving with a out of state drivers license. He is released on $2000 bond on 27 October.
  • Kings third child, is born.

    Kings third child, is born.
    Dexter Scott, King’s third child, is born.
  • King calls a Mass rally!

    King calls a Mass rally!
    After the initial group of Freedom Riders seeking to integrate bus terminals are assaulted in Alabama, King addresses a mass rally at a mob-besieged Montgomery church.
  • King meets with President John F. Kennedy

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

    King and others are arrested AGAIN!
    King, Ralph Abernathy, Albany Movement president William G. Anderson, and other protesters are arrested by Laurie Pritchett during a campaign in Albany, Georgia.
  • King is arrested and released...

    King is arrested at an Albany, Georgia prayer vigil and jailed. After spending two weeks in jail, King is released.
  • King is arrested and released... (pt. 2)

    After spending two weeks in jail in Albany, Georgia, King is released.
  • American Nazi Party assaults King, striking him twice in the face.

    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.
  • King’s fourth child, is born.

    Bernice Albertine, King’s fourth child, is born.
  • King writes a letter for African Americans waiting for justice!

    Responding to eight Jewish and Christian clergymen’s advice that African Americans wait patiently for justice, King pens his "Letter from Birmingham Jail." King and Abernathy were arrested on 12 April and released on 19 April.
  • Police try to stop another march led by King

    Police try to stop another march led by King
    Conflict in Birmingham reaches its peak when high-pressure fire hoses force demonstrators from the business district. In addition to hoses, Police Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor employs dogs, clubs, and cattle prods to disperse four thousand demonstrators in downtown Birmingham.
  • King's book of sermons, is published.

    King's book of sermons, is published.
    Strength to Love, King's book of sermons, is published.
  • King delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech.

    King delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech.
    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. After the march, King and other civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House.
  • King delivers the eulogy at funerals of 4 children...

    King delivers the eulogy at the funerals of Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Dianne Wesley, three of the four children that were killed during the 15 September bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Carole Robertson, the fourth victim, was buried in a separate ceremony.
  • King's home phone gets wiretapped by the FBI!

    U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorizes the FBI to wiretap King’s home phone.
  • King writes his book 'Why We Can't Wait'...

    King's book Why 'We Can’t Wait' is published. (FYI: We couldn't find the exact date!!)
  • King is named "Man of the Year."

    King is named "Man of the Year."
    King is named "Man of the Year" by Time Magazine.
  • President Lyndon B. seeks support for War on Poverty initiative!

    President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with King, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, and James Farmer and seeks support for his War on Poverty initiative.
  • Robert Haying invites King to join struggle at a movement

    Robert Hayling, leader of the movement in St. Augustine, Florida, invites King and SCLC to join the struggle.
  • King meets Malcolm X

    King meets Malcolm X in Washington, D.C. for the first and only time.
  • King is arrested and jailed again!

    King is arrested and jailed again!
    King is arrested and jailed for demanding service at a white-only restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida.
  • Mississippi Freedom Summer campaign.

    King and SCLC staff launch a People-to-People tour of Mississippi to assist the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the Mississippi Freedom Summer campaign.
  • FBI's director criticizes King!

    FBI's director criticizes King!
    After King criticizes the FBI’s failure to protect civil rights workers, the agency’s director J. Edgar Hoover denounces King as "the most notorious liar in the country." A week later he states that SCLC is "spearheaded by Communists and moral degenerates."
  • King meets with FBI Director J.

    King meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the Justice Department.
  • King receives the Nobel Peace Prize!

    King receives the Nobel Peace Prize!
    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.
  • King and his family move!

    The King family moves to their new home at 234 Sunset Avenue in Atlanta.
  • Bloody Sunday... :(

    Bloody Sunday... :(
    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.

    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 opposes Vietnam War!

    King publicly opposes the Vietnam War at a mass rally at the Ninth Annual Convention of SCLC in Birmingham.
  • King moves into a poor apartment to draw attention

    King moves into a poor apartment to draw attention
    King and his wife move into an apartment at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue in Chicago to draw attention to the city's poor housing conditions.
  • King meets Elijah Muhammad.

    In Chicago, King meets Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.
  • The 'March Against Fear' resumes!

    King, Floyd McKissick of CORE, and Stokely Carmichael of SNCC resume James Meredith’s "March Against Fear" from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi, after Meredith was shot and wounded near Memphis.
  • King publishes his 3rd book!

    King publishes his 3rd book!
    King’s book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? is published.
  • King delivers "Beyond Vietnam" speech.

    King delivers "Beyond Vietnam" to a gathering of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam at Riverside Church in New York City. He demands that the U.S. take new initiatives to end the war.
  • King publicly reveals his plans to organize a mass civil disobedience campaign.

    King publicly reveals his plans to organize a mass civil disobedience campaign, the Poor People's Campaign, in Washington, D.C., to force the government to end poverty.
  • King leads a march of six thousand protesters!

    King leads a march of six thousand protesters!
    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.

    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 :(

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

    King is buried...
    King is buried in Atlanta... with his loving family around the grave, respecting his reign.