Introduction - Martin Luther King Jr. Facts
Under Martin Luther King Jr's leadership the black Civil Rights Movement made incredible strides towards bringing equality for all Americans regardless of race. This
great man lead his numerous followers in nonviolent resistance to discrimination using the power of words as few in history have ever done before or since. He is
considered the most important and famous man in black history and one of the greatest leaders in world history.
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On this page you will find a list of facts about this famous man. Information will include why he is considered the greatest leader in black history, how he became so famous, where he gave some of his greatest speeches, and how Martin Luther King Jr. effected the black civil rights movement. This information should be helpful for kids writing Black History Month papers and for adults interested in learning more about this famous man.
Martin Luther King Jr. Interesting Facts
- He was born on January 15th of 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
- King's rise to prominence in the fight for civil rights began in 1955 when he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks for not giving her seat on a bus up to a white passenger.
- In 1957 he helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of which he was the first president. The purpose of the SCLC was to provide leadership for the black civil rights movement.
- In 1963, as part of the March on Washington, he delivered the legendary "I Have a Dream" speech in which he described a future free of racial discrimination. This speech was one of the greatest speeches in history and left little doubt that he was one of the greatest orators the world had ever seen.
- In October of 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial discrimination through nonviolence. He was the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
- In 1965 Martin Luther King led the Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights. The peaceful protest was met by a vicious attack by Alabama State troopers which resulted in tremendous support for the black protesters and would result in the U.S. Congress passing the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination and After Facts
- King was assassinated on April 4th of 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was shot by a single bullet as he stood on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel. He had come to Memphis to support a strike by African American sanitation workers prompted by unfair treatment compared to white workers.
- The day before his assassination King gave his last speech called "I've Been to the Mountaintop". In this speech he seems to know what fate has in store for him and as always shows bravery in the face of danger; he states "Like anybody, I would like to live - a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now ... Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord".
- After his death he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal (2004) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977).
- In 1986 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day became an American federal holiday. It is celebrated every year on the 3rd Monday of January which falls near King's birthday of January 15th. He is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor.
- In 2011 the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, DC.