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Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is the father of the modern civil rights movement. He was born Michael Luther King, January 15, 1929, in Atlanta Georgia. In 1934, his father changed Michael’s name to Martin Luther King Jr. The young King was admitted at age 15 to Morehouse College. He graduated from there and went on to study at the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Before graduating from Crozer in 1951, King read the works of philosopher Henry David Thoreau, an advocate of civil disobedience.

King also examined the philosophy of Mohandas Gandhi of India, another upholder of nonviolence. From Crozer it was on to Boston University where King earned his Doctorate in Theology. He married Coretta Scott King in 1953. Martin Luther King Jr. preached the gospel and rose to the call of social activist leader as the Pastor of the Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama, and later at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He organized the Montgomery bus boycott with Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and the NAACP in 1955 after Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat to whites.

King became the first leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. By 1961, he was supporting freedom rides to integrate Southern lunch counters and rest rooms. His famous "I Have a Dream Speech" was delivered on the Washington D.C. mall in 1963. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated in 1968 as he was preparing to lead a labor protest march on behalf of sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.