We may commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday on the third monday of every year, but Jan. 15 is his actual birthday!
Civil rights leader and non-violent activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA. At birth he was named Michael King, Jr. (after his father), but around 1934 his father changed his own and his son's name to Martin Luther (after the German Protestant leader).
He accelerated in school at an alarming rate and skipped both the ninth and twelth grades. He even enrolled at Morehouse College at the age of 15, without even having formally graduated high school. In 1948 he graduated from Morehouse College, and moved on to Crozer Theological Seminary. On June 18, 1953 he married Coretta Scott and together they had four children; Yolanda King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King, and Bernice King.
His contributions to society are too many to name, but it was his work for the civil rights movement that's the most notable. In 1955 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. He also helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, and served as their first president.
In 1963 he led the historic March on Washington and delivered his "I Have a Dream Speech" on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means in 1964. By the time he was assassinated in 1968 he had shifted his focus to ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War.
On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, TN. He was buried in his homestate of Georgia on April 7.
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