Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr

Leading civil rights activist whose efforts significantly advanced equality

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.  King was the greatest leader of the Civil Rights Movement beginning in the 1950s until he was assassinated in 1968.

The impetus underlying the Civil Rights Movement, like the drive to abolish slavery and enact Reconstruction, was the belief in the First Principle of equality.   Dr. King firmly believed in this conviction and used it as his greatest weapon.

King, who preached and practiced non-violent opposition in the face of oppression, established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, and led the struggle for equality during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Writing from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, he explained that the civil rights activists were “standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” Thus, it was natural for King, when he addressed over 200,000 supporters who had marched on Washington, D.C., to echo Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, in his famous and moving I Have a Dream Speech.

The efforts and Dr. King and others in the Civil Rights Movement led to the adoption of several federal civil rights acts and ground-breaking Supreme Court decisions.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
For more about Dr. King and his importance to our liberties today, buy a copy of  America’s Survival Guide.

Picture:  Photograph by Dick DeMarsico (1964)



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