The Life and Times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Birth

    Michael King, later known as Martin Luther King, Jr., is born
  • Period: to

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Life

  • College Freshman

    King begins his freshman year at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
  • Letter to the Editor on Basic Rights

    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."
  • An Ordained Minister

    King is ordained and appointed assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
  • College Graduate

    King receives his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Morehouse College.
  • Continuing Education

    King begins his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Valedictorian

    King graduates from Crozer with a bachelor of divinity degree, delivering the valedictory address at commencement.
  • Graduate School

    King begins his graduate studies in systematic theology at Boston University.
  • Marriage

    King and Coretta Scott are married at the Scott home near Marion, Alabama.
  • Doctoral Program

    King begins his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    King is awarded his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University.
  • Yolanda Denise King

    Yolanda Denise King, the Kings’ first child, is born.
  • President of Montgomery Improvement Association

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

    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.
  • Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation & Nonviolent Integration

    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).
  • Time Magazine

    King appears on the cover of Time magazine.
  • 1st National Address

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

    Coretta King gives birth to their second child, Martin, III.
  • "Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story"

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

    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.
  • "Dr. King, you're under arrest"

    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 a suspended sentence he received for a 1956 traffic violation. He is released on $2000 bond on 27 October.
  • Dexter Scott King

    Dexter Scott, King’s third child, is born.
  • A meeting with President Kennedy

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

    King, Ralph Abernathy, Albany Movement president William G. Anderson, and other protesters are arrested by Laurie Pritchett during a campaign in Albany, Georgia.
  • 2 Weeks in Jail

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

    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

    Bernice Albertine, King’s fourth child, is born.
  • "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

    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.
  • "Strength to Love"

    Strength to Love, King's book of sermons, is published.
  • "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. 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.
  • Time Magazine's "Man of the Year"

    King is named "Man of the Year" by Time Magazine.
  • "Why We Can't Wait"

    King's book Why We Can’t Wait is published.
  • Yet Another Arrest

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

    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.
  • The March from Selma 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.
  • "March Against Fear"

    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.
  • "Where Do We God from Here: Chaos or Community?"

    King’s book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? is published.
  • "I've Been to the Mountaintop"

    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."
  • Death

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