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Martin Luther King Jr. Biography
Updated On: Jun 21, 2017
1929 January 15. Michael Luther King Jr., later renamed Martin, born to schoolteacher Alberta King and Baptist minister Michael Luther King. Boyhood in Sweet Auburn district.
1948 King graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. with a B.A.
1951 Graduates with a B.D. from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa.
1953 June 18. King marries Coretta Scott in Marion, Ala.. They will have four children: Yolanda Denise (b.1955), Martin Luther King III (b.1957), Dexter (b.1961), Bernice Albertine (b.1963).
1954 September. King moves to Montgomery, Ala. to preach at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
1955 After coursework at New England colleges, King finishes his Ph. D. in systematic theology.
1956 January 26. King is arrested for driving 30 m.p.h. in a 25 m.p.h. zone. January 30. King's house bombed.
1957 January. 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.
1958 King's first book published, Stride Toward Freedom (Harper), his recollections of the Montgomery bus boycott. While King is promoting his book in a Harlem book store, an African American woman stabs him.
1959 King visits India. He had a lifelong admiration for Mohandas K. Gandhi, and credited Gandhi's passive resistance techniques for his civil-rights successes.
1960 King leaves for Atlanta to pastor his father's church, Ebenezer Baptist Church.
1962 King meets with President John F. Kennedy to urge support for civil rights.
1963 King leads protests in Birmingham for desegregated department store facilities, and fair hiring. April. 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. August 28. 250,000 civil-rights supporters attended the March on Washington. At the Lincoln Memorial, King delivers the famous "I have a dream" speech.
1964 King's book published: Why We Can't Wait . King visits with West Berlin Mayor Willy Brant and Pope Paul VI.
1964 December 10. King wins Nobel Peace Prize.
1965 January 18. King successfully registers to vote at the Hotel Albert in Selma, Ala. and is assaulted by James George Robinson of Birmingham. February. King continues to protest discrimination in voter registration, is arrested and jailed. Meets with President Lyndon B. Johnson Feb. 9 and other American leaders about voting rights for African Americans.
1965 March 16-21. King and 3,200 people march from Selma to Montgomery.
1968 April 4. King is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. by James Earl Ray.
1986 January 20 is the first national celebration of King's birthday as a holiday.
2011 October 16 Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, DC.