Martin Luther King, Jr.

Born January 15, 1929, he went to Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia in 1944 and graduated with his doctorate in 1953. He become a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama, and organized a 38-day boycott of the bus lines there for their forcing people of colour to sit at the back of the bus. Rosa Parks became famous for refusing to move to the back. He was arrested and subject to violent harrassment, including the bombing of his home. However the U.S. Supreme Court eventually declared that bus segregation is unconstitutional. In 1957 King helped form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1960 he became co-pastor with his father. At Birmingham he organized to protest against segregation of department store facilities such as their lunch counters. He and his people met with police brutality and King wrote his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” during this period. In 1963 he helped organize the March on Washington and delivered his famous “I have a dream speech.” (Quoted in part below.) In 1964 King went to Chicago where young and angry blacks were unresponsive to King’s preaching and calls for peaceful protest. King also decided at that time to join against the movement against the war in Vietnam, seeing it as linked to black poverty since so many of the Americans being killed there were blacks who were denied many preferable careers to enlistment. King called for a guaranteed family income, going beyond segregation to issues of economics. On April 4, 1968 King was gunned down at a motel while standing on a balcony with some colleagues.

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King Quotes:

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”….I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character….when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Letter from a Birmingham Jail

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."

"…we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. "

For additional King quotes see Peace Quotes elsewhere on this website.

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