Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – MLK Jr. Day

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Jan. 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)  and Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Photos: www. nobelprize.org, Alabama Historical Commission/National Park Service (nps.gov)

To view King’s”I Have A Dream” speech in 1963, go to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs.  The video runs 17:29. 

Many will be honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy today with parades, celebrations. If you want to honor him in another way,  King’s favorite foods were pecan pie and fried chicken, the Huffington Post reports. Here’s a look back at King’s life and achievements. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! – Carol Lim

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a church pastor, humanitarian and leader of America’s civil rights movement from the mid-1950’s until his death in 1968.   Dr. King was born Jan. 15, 1929.  King co-pastored Ebenezer Baptist Church from 1960 until his death.  King attended segregated public schools.  He graduated from high school at the age of 15 and from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1948.  King went on to Crozier Theological Seminary where he was elected President of a predominantly white senior class. Dr. King received his doctorate degree from Boston University in 1955.  While in Boston, Dr. King met and married Coretta Scott.  The couple had 2 sons and 2 daughters.

During his lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964.   One of King’s most famous, quoted speeches is the “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 for freedom, equality and jobs during the March on Washington.

As a civil rights activist, Dr. King advocated peaceful, non-violent protests and civil disobedience against unjust laws.  On “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights people marched east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80 for the right to vote.  State troopers and local police attacked them with clubs and tear gas and drove them back to Selma.   On March 9, 1965, two days later, Martin Luther King, Jr. led a “symbolic” march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Federal judge Frank Johnson, Jr. ruled in favor of the demonstrators. On March 21, 1965, some  3,200 people walked 12 miles a day until they reached Montgomerty, the capitol with more than 25,000 marchers on March 25, 1965.

Black Americans also were required to give up their bus seats to white bus riders, even though they paid the same bus fares as white Americans.   When seats on the bus were full, black Americans had to stand during their bus rides.  In an act of civil disobedience, Rosa Parks, a black bus rider, refused to give up her seat.  King organized a bus boycott in Alabama. The one-day boycott resulted in empty buses.

Civil rights activists and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. organized more non-violent demonstrations against segregation in schools and public facilities and to demand that all Americans, regardless of their race, economic class or background be treated equally.  During the Civil Rights movement, the non-violent protestors and marchers encountered violence and clashes with state troopers and local police under orders from state governors, local authorities or with white supremist groups in Alabama and Mississippi.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by a sniper’s bullet while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

King’s civil rights work was highly praised and pivotal in the Civil Rights Act of 1961 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Less than 5 months after the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.

Sources:  http://www.nobelprize.org,  www. nps.gov, (National Park Service), Discovery Channel Documentary, http://www.history.com, YouTube

 

 

 

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