Global Christianity Martin Luther King, Jr.
(1929 - 1968)
Global Christianity

African-American Baptist minister and leader in the civil rights movement, martyr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Raised in Atlanta, Georgia as the son and grandson of Baptist ministers, King had deep roots in African-American Churches. After seminary studies to prepare for ministry, King went on to graduate studies in systematic theology at Boston University; his studies included the work of Walter Rauschenbusch. In 1954 King became pastor of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama. Soon he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, an effort to end racial segregation on public transportation. King later became a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, where he continued leading the civil rights movement for social change through non-violent protest. In 1957 King became president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which sought to register African-American voters and to desegregate public accommodations. In many southern cities King led protests, marches, and campaigns to focus national attention on the need for racial and economic justice. In 1963 King led a march on Washington D.C., where he delivered the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, calling America to live up to its promise of equality for all citizens. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In later years he denounced the Vietnam War and became more radical in his critique of American society. On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee; his birthday became a national holiday in 1986.

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