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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Time Line of His Life

This is a brief timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. This is a good time to talk to your family and ask them what they remember about King. Also, your library has books on King. See the bottom of this page for activities or our links page for books on Dr. King.

| Resources for studying Black History | Letter from a Birmingham Jail |

January 15, 1929
Martin was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were the Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King Sr.

1944 Martin Luther King Jr. graduated for Booker T. Washing High Scool. He was 15 years old. He was admitted to Morehouse College.
February 25, 1948
King became a minister in his father's church, Ebenezer Baptist Church. He was 18 years old.
June 21, 1948
King graduated from Morehouse College. He graduated when he was 19.
1951 King entered Boston University for graduate studies.
June 18, 1953
Martin King Jr. married Coretta Scott and settled in Montgomery, Alabama.
October 13, 1954
King became a pastor of a Baptist
church in Montgomery, Alabama.
June 5, 1955
Dr. King received his Ph.D. from Boston University.
December 1, 1955 After Rosa Parks was arrested King became a leader of the Montgomery bus boycott, which helped end the separation of blacks and whites on buses.
December 5, 1955 Dr. King was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. He therefore became the official spokesman for the boycott.
November 13, 1956 The Supreme Court ruled that bus segreagation wass illegal. This was a victory for the boycott.
1957 Martin Luther King Jr. formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to fight segregation and achieve civil rights.
1958 Martin's first book, Stride Toward Freedom, was published.
1958 Marting Luther King Jr. was all most killed when he was stabbed in Harlem, NY while he was on a book tour. He was stabbed by Izola Ware Curry with a letter opener. She was also carrying a gun. (TIME article.)
1959 King resigned as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Babtist Church to work on civil rights full time and to direct the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
1960 Martin Luther King Jr. became co-paster of the Ebenezer Baptist Church iwth his father.
1960 King was arrested during a protest at a restuarant and sentenced to four months in jail. He was released after John and Roberet Kennedy came to his aid.
1961 The first Freedom Ride through the South took place by CORE, Congress for Racial Equality. Due to the work of King the Interstate Commerce Commision banned segregation on interstate travel.
July 2, 1962 King was arrested and jailed during an unsuccessful protest in Albany, Georgia.
April 12, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested on Good Friday along with Ralph Abernathy. He was arrested by Police Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor for demonstrating without a permit. He spent 11 days in jail during which time he wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."
August 28, 1963 King led the March on Washington and gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Almost 250,000 people listened to his speech in the nation's capital.
December 10, 1964 Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
March 21, 1965 King led thousands of protesters 50 miles
from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
King was arrested during the march.
July 10, 1966 King began a campaign to end discrimmination in housing, employment and schools in Chicago.
1967 King marched in support of sanitation workers that were on strike in Memphis, Tennessee.
April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray. His furneral was held on April 9th.
November 2, 1986 A national holiday was established in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Activities This is an excellent time to talk to your grandparents about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ask them what they remeber about Dr. King and his role in the Civil Rights movement. Many people can remember where they were and what they were doing when the heard about the assassination of King. Ask your grandparents if they remember that day. Write down what you learn from your family. Save it, it becomes part of the oral history of the United States.
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