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The Agapé Center for Service and Learning

The History of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was perhaps the most influential civil rights leader in American History.  His desire to bring equality to people who society viewed as insignificant reflects what God wants all of us to strive towards.  His life is a testament to God's ability to work through anyone to accomplish the most important tasks in His Kingdom.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

About Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 to Rev.  Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King.  He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Booker T. Washington High School.  After skipping both 9th and 12th grade, Dr. King attended Morehouse college as a 15 year old.  He graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and then attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, PA.  He then went on to obtain his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University.  Dr. King was married to Coretta Scott in June of 1953 and at the age of 24, Dr. King became a pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama.

 

 

Washington March

March on Washington 1963

The march on Washington was orchestrated by 6 of the major civil rights communities in the country. Dr. King was the major representative of the Southern Christian Leadership Conferece. The march was the largest gathering in Washington in its histor and led to inspirational messages from numerous civil rights leaders, including Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

After Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955, Dr. King and Edgar Nixon decided to lead one of the most famous non-violent protests in United States history. The boycott lasted 385 days and resulted in Dr. King's arrest as well as his house being bombed. The protest, however, was successful and ended with the United States District Courts ending racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses in Browder v. Gayle.

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Nobel Peace Prize

In 1964, Dr. King became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace prize. He received this award for his work in the civil rights movement and his strong desire to accomplish his goal of ending racial prejudice and segregation in the United States with non-violence.

 

 

 

Official Holiday

President Ronald Reagan signed the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday into law on

November 2, 1983, making the third Monday in January a national holiday to celebrate the birthday of Dr. King.  The first national King Holiday was observed in 1986.

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Day of Service

In 1994, Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania and Congressman John Lewis co‐authored the King Holiday and Service Act to transform the January holiday

into a national day of service. President Clinton signed the law into legislation

later that year, creating the national Martin Luther King Day of Service.