Atlanta, Georgia (JFK+50) Eighty-nine years ago, January 15, 1929, the leader of the civil rights movement, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born at 501 Auburn Street here in Atlanta. Martin's father, Michael, changed his name to honor the German protestant religious leader, Martin Luther. MLK, Jr.'s mother was Alberta Williams King.
Martin graduated from Morehouse College in 1948 with a B.A. in Sociology.
He earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania 3 years later. King married Coretta Scott on June 18, 1953 and received his PhD from Boston University in 1955, the same year he led the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.
Dr. King was pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery before becoming co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He preached a philosophy of non-violent protest for civil rights, a philosophy which was patterned after that of Mohandas Gandhi.
During the March on Washington for equal rights in August 1963, Dr. King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech which is considered to be his best.Afterward, King and other civil rights leaders met with President John F. Kennedy at the White House. JFK greeted them with the words..."I have a dream."
In 1964, MLK was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in the following years, while continuing to lead the civil rights movement, became an opponent of the war in Vietnam.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday was established in 1983. It is celebrated on the 3rd Monday of January.The bill for the holiday was signed by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983 and the holiday was first observed in 1986.
At the dedication ceremonies of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama said...
"In this place (Dr. King) will stand for all time, a black preacher with no official rank or title who gave voice to our deepest dreams and our most lasting ideals."
Martin Luther King Memorial
Photo by John White (2011)