Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

31. BlogHeader_MartinThe Minister who brought the races together

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 as Michael Luther King Jr. He later had his name changed after his father adopted the name Martin in honor of the Protestant leader Martin Luther. Martin Luther King Jr. was a scholar and minister who singlehandedly led the civil rights movement in the US and became its most visible spokesperson. He was a Baptist Minister and civil rights activist who had a colossal impact on race relations in the United States. King is best known for his approach of nonviolence and civil disobedience. He maintained his inspiration in Christian beliefs, and the non-violent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.

Among his many efforts, King commanded the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. In 1963, he gave his famous speech, ‘I Have a Dream’, in Washington.

Early life

Born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, King was the middle child of Michael King Sr. and Alberta Williams King.

King was heavily moved by his father’s fearless protests against segregation in daily life and was initially skeptical of numerous claims of Christianity. However, he later embraced the religion and concluded that the Bible has “many profound truths that one cannot escape”.

King attended Morehouse College in Atlanta at age of 15, where he was a popular student. He earned a sociology degree from the college in 1948 and further attended the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.

During his last year at the Seminary, King came under the influence of Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse College President who further guided king’s spiritual development. As an outspoken advocate for racial inequality, he inspired King to view Christianity as a potential power for social transformation.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

After Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man, King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 that led to 382 days of walking to work, harassment, violence and intimidation for Montgomery’s African-American community. After facing defeat in several lower court rulings and suffering huge financial losses, the city of Montgomery lifted the law that had put segregated public transportation in place.

King was fatally shot by James Earl Ray on the evening of April 4, 1968. Though King has long gone, his efforts for equality and his legacy will long remain among us.