MARTIN LUTHER KING: Birthday Breakout

Dream Speech

Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was born on this date in 1929.

  • The most inspirational, influential and effective leader of the 1960s civil rights movement.
  • He earned his doctorate in theology from Boston University in 1955.
  • First came to prominence as a leader of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott fueled by Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her seat to a white man. It led to a federal court ruling ending segregation on public buses.
  • An organizer of 1963's March on Washington, which demanded an end to segregation. At it, he delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
  • In 1965, he organized a series of marches from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, demanding voting rights for African-Americans.
  • The "Bloody Sunday" attack by police on protesters was the tipping point for President Lyndon Johnsonto submit a comprehensive Civil Rights Bill.
  • Came to Memphis in April 1968 to support striking sanitation workers; on April 4th, he was shot dead on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel byJames Earl Ray.
  • His namesake father was bornMichael King, but changed his name in 1934 to honor the Protestant reform leader.
  • President Reagansigned the bill creating a national Martin Luther King holiday in 1983.
  • The holiday was first celebrated in all 50 states in 2000.
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