Where was Martin Luther King assassinated, who was the civil rights activist and what are his most memorable quotes?
MARTIN Luther King Jr. was an iconic civil rights activist who believed in non-violent protest.
The Baptist minister was a key player in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968.
Who was Martin Luther King Jr?
Born on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr was a social activist who sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the socially and economically disadvantaged and victims of injustice.
He advocated peaceful protest and was the driving force behind both the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington.
The March actually helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is honoured each year on Martin Luther King Jr Day, which has been a federal holiday in the USA since 1986.
What was Martin Luther King Jr’s background?
Martin Luther King Jr was born in Atlanta, Georgia and was the second child of pastor Martin Luther King Sr and Alberta Williams King, a former schoolteacher.
Along with his older sister Christine and younger brother Alfred Daniel Williams, he grew up in the city’s Sweet Auburn neighbourhood – which was home to some of the most prominent and prosperous African Americans in the country at the time.
Described as a gifted student, King attended segregated public schools and at the age of 15 was admitted to Morehouse College, the alma mater of both his father and maternal grandfather, where he studied medicine and law.
Although he had not intended to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the ministry, he changed his mind while under the mentorship of Morehouse’s president, Dr Benjamin Mays.
After graduating in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree and won a prestigious fellowship before being elected president of his predominantly white senior class.
King then enrolled in a graduate program at Boston University, completing his coursework in 1953 and earning a doctorate in systematic theology two years later.
While in Boston he met Coretta Scott, a young singer from Alabama who was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music.
The couple wed in 1953 and settled in Montgomery, Alabama, where King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
They had four children: Yolanda Denise King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King and Bernice Albertine King.
Where was he assassinated?
Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated on the evening of April 4, 1968.
He was fatally shot while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, where King had travelled to support a sanitation workers’ strike.
In the wake of his death, a wave of riots swept major cities across the country, while President Johnson declared a national day of mourning.
James Earl Ray, an escaped convict and known racist, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He was convicted on his 41st birthday.
He later recanted his confession in an attempt to force a retrial but was unsuccessful.
He died in prison having served 29 years for King’s murder.
What are some of Martin Luther King Jr’s most memorable quotes?
The March on Washington culminated in King’s most famous address, known as the “I Have a Dream” speech.
The speech was described as a spirited call for peace and equality, that many consider a masterpiece of rhetoric.
Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial— which was a monument to the president who a century earlier had brought down the institution of slavery in the United States—he shared his vision of a future in which “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”
The speech and march cemented King’s reputation at home and abroad.
Later that year he was named “Man of the Year” by TIME magazine and in 1964 became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Other famous and memorable MLK quotes include:
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
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