Martin Luther King, Jr.

You may have heard the name Martin Luther King, but how much do you actually know about this great man? Well, he was a civil rights activist in the 1950s and 60s, and he led non-violent protests to fight for the rights of all people including African Americans. He was a wonderful public speaker and he knew how to captivate and inspire an audience. His advocated race equality and his passionate speeches still inspire many to this day.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929 and went to Boston University to get a doctor's degree in theology. His dad was a church preacher. He got married in 1953 to Coretta Scott and they had four children together.
Following Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus, Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his first major civil rights action. Rosa Parks was arrested and spent the night in jail. As a result, Martin helped to organize a boycott of the public transportation system in Montgomery. The boycott lasted for over a year. It was very tense at times. Martin was arrested and his house was bombed. In the end, however, Martin prevailed and segregation on Montgomery buses came to an end.
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to organize the famous "March on Washington". Over 250,000 people attended this march in an effort to show the importance of civil rights legislation. Some of the issues the march hoped to accomplish included an end to segregation in public schools, protection from police abuse, and to get laws passed that would prevent discrimination in employment.
It was at this march where Martin gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. This speech has become one of the most famous speeches in history. The March on Washington was a great success. The Civil Rights Act was passed a year later in 1964.
Sadly, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was shot while standing on the balcony of his hotel. One of my favourite parts of his ‘I have a Dream’ speech is, “I have a dream that my four little 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.”

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