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Martin Luther King Day

**Early Life:**

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. His birth name was Michael King Jr., but his father later changed both their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant reformer. Growing up in a middle-class family, King excelled academically, entering Morehouse College at the age of 15.


**Education and Influences:**

King continued his education, earning a bachelor's degree in sociology from Morehouse College. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University. His exposure to diverse theological perspectives and thinkers shaped his views on nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience.

**Montgomery Bus Boycott:**

King became involved in civil rights activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. The boycott was sparked by Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus. King emerged as a prominent leader, advocating for nonviolent protest strategies inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.


**Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC):**

In 1957, King, along with other civil rights leaders, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The SCLC aimed to coordinate and support nonviolent protests to advance civil rights reforms. King served as its first president.


**March on Washington:**

One of the most iconic moments in King's life was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. On August 28, he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, calling for an end to racism and envisioning a future of equality and justice.


**Civil Rights Act of 1964:**

King played a crucial role in advocating for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This landmark legislation marked a significant step towards dismantling institutionalized segregation.


**Nobel Peace Prize:**

In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the American civil rights movement and his commitment to nonviolent resistance.


**Chicago Campaign and Poor People's Campaign:**

King continued his activism, shifting his focus to economic justice. He led the Chicago Campaign in 1966, addressing issues such as housing and education. In 1968, he organized the Poor People's Campaign, advocating for economic reforms to uplift the poor of all races.


**Assassination and Legacy:**

Tragically, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. His death sparked a wave of mourning across the nation. King's legacy endures, and his contributions to the civil rights movement continue to inspire generations. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta and the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day serve as reminders of his enduring impact.


Martin Luther King Jr. was a visionary leader who fought tirelessly for racial equality, justice, and human rights. His commitment to nonviolent resistance and his powerful oratory left an indelible mark on the American civil rights movement, making him an enduring symbol of hope and inspiration.

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