Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for civil rights.
He worked for equality for African Americans and all Americans.
He was part of the Civil Rights Movement, which tried to end racial discrimination.
King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.
He entered college when he was 15 years old.
At 24 years old, he became the minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
For 382 days he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Dr. King believed in nonviolent civil disobedience.
In 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
His dream was equality and civil rights for all Americans.
In 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
King was shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
He was shot while he was on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
About 300,000 people attended his funeral.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is buried at the King Center. His wife Coretta Scott King is buried with him.
The third Monday in January is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It is a national holiday. It is on January 19 in 2015.
A memorial in Washington, D.C. is being built to honor Dr. King.
Black History Month Lessons
February is Black History Month. It is a month long celebration to recognize the contributions of African Americans. During Black History Month, schools teach lessons about famous African Americans like Martin Luther King, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Madame C.J. Walker, Malcolm X, Dr. Charles Drew, and others. Students also learn about subjects and events like slavery, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, voting rights, the March on Washington, and the Million Man March.
Famous African Americans
Barack Obama – The first African American President of the United States took office at noon on January 20, 2009.
Emancipation Proclamation – The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in most Southern states.
George Washington Carver, 1864-1943 – George Washington Carver was a famous botanist, educator, and an unofficial spokesperson for the peanut industry. He wanted to improve the economic situation of African Americans in the rural South.
Malcolm X, 1925-1965 – Malcolm X was a black activist and a Muslim minister and spokesperson. He harshly condemned the unfair treatment of African Americans by whites. Malcolm encouraged black pride and self-reliance.
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968 – Martin Luther King was a civil rights leader. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His “I Have a Dream” speech challenged America to live up to its promise of equality for all.
Rosa Parks, 1913-2005 – The U.S. Congress called Rosa Parks the “Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement”. Her refusal to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man resulted in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Sojourner Truth, about 1797-1883 – Sojourner Truth was a slave, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist. She traveled around the country giving speeches and supporting various social and political causes.
Voting Amendments – There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote: 15th, 19th, 24th, 26th.