Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King was born on this date in 1929.
The most inspirational and influential 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‘ 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; there, he delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
The oft-repeated speech ran for 17 minutes.
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 Johnson to submit a comprehensive Civil Rights Bill.
King also served as a leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement.
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 by James Earl Ray.
He and his namesake father were both born Michael King, but changed their names in 1934 to honor the Protestant reform leader.
President Reagan signed the bill creating a national Martin Luther King holiday in 1983.
The holiday was first celebrated in all 50 states in 2000.