The third Monday in January is observed throughout America as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Federal, state and local offices are closed for the day. Many schools, banks and businesses are also closed.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech can be found in the National Archives.
These facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr from The King Center will help you and your children learn more about the life, death and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The King Center, located in Atlanta, Ga., is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
King was born Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Ga. to parents Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. King was the second child and first son of Rev. and Mrs. King.
Nine months after King’s birth, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression officially began, an era which changed the lives of many American families.
King attended college at Morehouse College from 1944 to 1948. He later attended Crozer Theological Seminary and earned a doctorate at Boston University’s School of Theology.
King was ordained during his final semester at Morehouse College. King also began his life as a political activist while at Morehouse College.
While he was in Boston, King met his future wife. King married Coretta Scott on the lawn of her parents’ home in Marion, Ala. on June 18, 1953. The ceremony was performed by King’s father.
The marriage of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta King lasted until King’s death and produced four children: Yolanda, Martin Luther III, Dexter and Bernice.
King became pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. in 1954 and was the primary spokesman of the year-long Montgomery bus boycott, which began when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man.
King believed in a nonviolent approach and worked with many other leaders as the civil rights movement spread across the South.
King’s house was bombed several times during the Montgomery bus boycott. An unsuccessful attempt was made to assassinate King in 1958 as he was signing his first book, “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story”.
King wasn’t just a leader in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. King helped work for human rights around the world, especially in Africa.
The King family moved to Atlanta in 1960, where Martin Luther King Jr. joined his father as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
On April 12, 1963, King allowed himself to be arrested while leading a civil rights demonstration in Birmingham. President John Kennedy intervened in the protests and introduced legislation to further civil rights.
During the Aug. 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
King continued to work for civil rights, speaking out publicly against violent attacks on African-Americans. He was named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” at the end of 1963.
King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1964 for his work in the civil rights movement. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 took effect on Aug. 6, 1965, prohibiting discrimination in voting.
King, who worked tirelessly for justice and equality for all, was killed by an assassin’s bullet on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. was opened to the public in August 2011, 48 years after King’s assassination, a tribute to a man whose non-violence changed history.
The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lives on in people around the world of every race, creed and color who believe that all people are created equal. Share that legacy with your children and let Dr. King’s message influence the next generation.