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Martin Luther King Jr.
by Cristin Holmen

        Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life trying to better the lives of African-American people. He was one of the greatest American Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s. He was born in 1929 in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. His father was a minister at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. At fifteen Martin Luther King Jr. was enrolled at Moorehouse College. He graduated from there in 1948, and, like his father wanted to become a minister.
        Martin Luther King Jr. married Corretta Scott in 1953 while doing graduate work at Boston Graduate School. They had four kids and they were together until his death. In 1955, he completed his work at Boston Graduate School and got his PHD. By this time Martin Luther King Jr. was a well-known Civil Rights Activist who was attempting to get rid of discrimination and to overthrow the unfair segregation laws in the South.


Martin Luther King Jr. making a speech to some of his followers

         In 1956, a bomb was thrown on to the porch of Martin Luther King Jrís house. Again in 1956, another bomb was thrown onto his porch, luckily, both times the bombs did not explode. In 1956, King was also arrested on charges of hindering operation of buses without legal cause. In 1958, he published a book called "Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story". In 1960, King moved to Atlanta with his family and becomes the co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, his fatherís old church. In 1962, Martin Luther King Jr. was convicted of leading a march in Albany.


Martin Luther King Jr. posed for this picture in his office.

        He made a famous speech that is known as the "I have a Dream" speech. That speech was an inspiration to millions of African-American people. Martin Luther King Jr. led a protest against segregated buses. It started when an older lady named Rosa Parks, who is now famous for not giving up her seat, was arrested. Martin Luther King Jr. was a very powerful speaker. He knew how to lead protests, and how to get people involved. He is the main reason for the equal rights between races that we have today. King was elected the leader of a group called the Montgomery Improvement Association.
        After the protests started by the Rosa Parks issue, Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged others to boycott the segregated buses also. After the protests ended, angry white people tried to kill Martin Luther King Jr., by bombing his house. The attempts were unsuccessful.


Martin Luther King Jr. waving to his fans

        To make the battle against nonviolence stronger, Martin Luther King Jr. and many other African-American ministers formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
        During the sixties, young African-American College boys started sitting at the "white" tables. The protests were broken up by the southern police, who used police dogs and fire hoses. The violence and drama of the protests was shown on television and President Kennedy proposed a bill to deal with this to Congress. Soon after the segregation laws were withdrawn.


Martin Luther King Jr. walking with his wife and followers

        In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was giving a speech in Memphis, Tennessee, called "Iíve been to the mountain top," in front of a huge crowd, when an escaped convict, named James Earl Ray shot him. The speech was for striking African-American garbage men. He died on April 4, 1968. The assassin was convicted and sentenced to only nine years in jail. Today, in January on his birthday, we have a the national holiday to celebrate his work called Martin Luther King Day .

Sources:

"Martin Luther King Jr." @ http://members.aol.com/magoo0885/index.html, 6/6/00

Picture Credits:

Picture #1 - "Martin Luther King Jr." from: http://members.aol.com/magoo0885/index.html

Picture #2 -"Martin Luther King Jr. making a speech to some of his followers" from: http://members.aol.com/magoo0885/index.html

Picture #3 - "Martin Luther King Jr. posing in his office" from: http://members.aol.com/magoo0885/index.html

Picture #4 - "Martin Luther King Jr. waving to his fans" from: http://members.aol.com/magoo0885/index.html

Picture #5 - "Martin Luther King Jr. walking with his wife and followers" from: http://members.aol.com/magoo0885/index.html


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