Martin Luther King, Jr., has been hailed as a prophet, a modern Moses, and the conscience of a nation. The son of a southern middle-class African American minister and his wife, King became an internationally known leader of the Civil Rights movement. King gained worldwide recognition for his philosophy of nonviolent social change. In 1964 he became the youngest person to have received the Nobel Peace Prize.
King attended school in Atlanta but did not formally complete high school. Instead, he passed an examination that allowed him to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta. During his undergraduate studies he was ordained into the Christian ministry. After graduating, King continued his education at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, finishing at the top of his class. He earned his Ph.D. in 1955 from the Boston University School of Theology.
While he was minister at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, had their first child two weeks before Rosa Parks made her fateful decision not to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white man. Five days later, King was elected president of the newly formed Montgomery Improvement Association, and the now-famous bus boycott officially began. After 381 days of nonviolent protest, during which King was arrested and indicted, federal injunctions were served and Montgomery buses were integrated on December 21, 1956.
King and his followers accomplished in thirteen years what decades had failed to produce. The minister traveled across the globe meeting with world leaders, all the while continuing to reach millions of poor, disfranchised African Americans by participating in numerous boycotts and marches. Early on, he spoke at places as varied as the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington D.C., the...
(The entire section is 754 words.)