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Martin Luther King Jr: A Biography

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 4003 words Published: 19th Jun 2018

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Martin Luther King Junior


Martin Luther King Junior was an American national, a protestant Christian by religion. He was a civil Rights activist, Baptist minister who led the various American-African civil rights movements. He struggled most of his life for the elimination of segregations of Blacks and whites in America. He was educated and had doctorate degree in systematic theology. He remained the Pastor of Baptist church in Montgomery Alabama city. He was also member of executive committee of the national association, which worked for the Betterment of people of America. He was also nominated as first president in southern Christian leadership conference for an organization who were suppose to provide leadership for Civil rights movements. The King also led the first non-violent demonstration ‘bus boycott’ in United States. During his struggle, he spoke over 2500[1] hundred times against injustice and Deprivation of social rights. He also presented the manifesto of a Negros revolution through his latter “letter from Birmingham jail”[2]; later on with a speech, “I have a dream”. He also wrote five books and several articles. Apart from this, he honored with 50 honorary degrees. Furthermore, he was the youngest man to receive the noble peace prize. (network 1964) He also titled as “man of Year[3]” In 1963. He awarded with fifteen awards such as presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressional Gold[4] medal and Grammy hall [5]of fame award. During his struggle, he was imprisoned for Twenty times. He was assassinated in the age of 39 years. (carson, 1992) Background

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Martin Luther King Junior was born in Atlanta on 15th of January 1968. He was the middle child of three children of his father. Earlier on, his name was Michael but it was changed later on as Martin. His father name was Martin Luther King senior. His grandfather’s name was James Albert King and he was a sharecropper in Stockbridge town of Georgia. His father moved on to Atlanta in the age of sixteen. There he got his education and established Himself as a preacher. He served as a Baptist[6] in two churches of Atlanta. Her mother name was Alberta Christine Williams. She graduated from Spellman College Atlanta. Martin siblings were Alfred Daniel King and a sister named Willie Christine. King’s wife was Coretta Scott who was Born in Hamburger on 27 April 1927. Who were a singer and musician in a local school in Boston. Both got married on 18 June 1952 in Marion, Alabama city. They had four children, Two daughters and two sons.


Martin Luther King had a pure rural background. His grandfather remained rural minister for several years. Than he migrated to Atlanta in 1893. He died in 1931 with heart attack. King’s Father was the only surviving child of his parents. Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, in the Age of five years he got admission in public school Atlanta. In May 1936 he was baptized. in 1941 when King was twelve year old when her grandmother Also died with heart attack. It was tragic news for him. He lost his temperament and jumped From the window of his family house for a suicide attempt. Few incidents happen in his early Age that laid a great impact on the idiosyncratic behaviors towards white people. (carson 1992) In the age of three years, there was a white playmate. when he was six year old his father Demanded to quit off playing together. This incident brought a big shock. when he asked his Parents about this happening; there he was made aware first time about the race problem. When He was eight year old another incident happen, he was slapped by a white woman just for Stepping her foot unintentionally. King joined Booker T high school in Washington. He skipped ninth and eleventh grades and entered into the Morehouse College in Atlanta. Another miserable incident of life happened in King’s life. when he was sixteen year after arriving back from winning a debate contest in Dublin[7]. He along his teacher Mrs. Bradley[8] stood up in the bus for almost ninety miles all the way from Dublin to Atlanta. This was angriest moment ever been for him. Though he belonged to a typical religious family who were suppose to involve in church and worship excessively but King have bit contradictory views. Martin disregarded the excessive Display of emotions in religious worships. This discomfort remained with him through his Adolescence phase. During the early years of his ministry, he took the guiding classes of Bible for The filtration of ideas towards religion.


Academic career

Martin Luther King started of his education career from public school Georgia. This was purely a Black segregated institute[9]. After completing his high school education, in September 1944 the King in the age of fifteen got admission in Morehouse college Atlanta. where he got Bachelors degree of arts in sociology in the year June 1948. in the same year he Joined crozer theological seminary Pennsylvania and remained there for three years. (carson 1992) He got the degree of bachelors Divinity in 1951. during his stay in crozer he was elected president for white senior class. This provided him an opportunity to complete the doctorate degree. Then he joined Boston University’s school of Theology and got the doctorate degree in Systematic theology in the year 1955.

Earlier career

King started his professional career in 1954 during the ending period of his doctorate degree. He Got offers from various colleges for respectable and authoritative posts but accepted the offer From Dexter church and started serving there as a pastor of Baptist church of Montgomery[10]. On 25 August 1955, he was appointed as president of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP [11]executive committee.

Rise to prominence

In United States black -white racial discrimination was predominately existed in that era. Blacks were segregated and deprived socially, economically as well as morally. Negros were not Allow To go in public parks, theatres, and schools of white people. For travelling, there was a specific way, as Negros was supposed to sit on the back seats either stand. There happened an incident when a girl violated the law by refusing to give the seat to a white man. On 1 December 1955 Mrs. Rosa park[12] another black woman refused to leave the seat and she was arrested. which led the beginning of Montgomery boycott[13] (History wired 1994) movement. On that night local civil right leaders and Martin Luther, King planed to have planned to have citywide boycott of buses and transports. The King was nominated to lead the bus boycott movement because of exceptional intellect and strong family connection. He delivered a speech in which he motivated the agenda of Negroes and he claimed the peaceful protest is the only way to secure their legitimacy. He led the movement in a very sensible which also gave the civil right movement of Alabama City a new source of inspiration and execution. The bus boycott remained for 382 days. During This duration Negroes faced multi issues of violence and harassment. King also took legal action Against the unconstitutional act of law. The higher authorities suffered with huge financial loss and they lifted the segregated law for transportation. this victory earned a great prominence for the King Junior to emerge as leader.

Social Contributions

After the successful bus boycott movement, the leaders of civil rights movement felt the requirement an organization at national level to ensure the representation of their rights security. For that purpose, Martin Luther King and his close friend Ralph Abernathy [14]with the collaboration of several ministers’ formulated SCLC[15]. the organization organized 20 meetings in the southern cities for the registration of black voters. (Pipes 2007) King personally held meetings with religious and civil rights leaders to discuss the Negroes discrimination issues. In 1959 King also visited India because he was inspired by Gandhi’s non-violent movement. that visit motivated him and he became even more determined for the preservation of civil rights. In 1960 another movement started in Greensboro, known as sit in Movement led my African American students. The movement rapidly spread in other cities as well. Martin Luther King motivated the students To carry on the movement in a peaceful manner. Under the guidelines of King, the sit-ins Achieved success in finishing the segregation at lunch counters for more than 25 cities. In 1960 King joined his father as co-poster at Ebenezer Baptist church but he also carried on his efforts for the struggle of civil rights. The Birmingham campaign on second of April 1963 ACHR[16] and SCLC under the leadership of Martin Luther King started a protest known as “Birmingham campaign”. During this campaign the King started mobilizing the Negroes community in more determined way. He met with various Businesspersons, professionals; religious and social activist’s. He also held a meeting with 200 leaders and briefed them about the objectives of this campaign. (Pipes 2007) On 28 August 1963, two million people gathered at Lincoln memorial. The King delivered the Famous speech “I have a dream”[17] on this occasion and expressed the view of all men unity. In Response civil rights act 1964 was passed. Under this act the government laid stress on Desegregation of accommodations and public facilities.

March on Washington

During Birmingham campaign the King was thrown into the jail. When he was released from jail, he held another civil Right March from Selma to Alabama. However, this march turned into violent. this incident is known as “bloody Sunday”[18]. (MichaelHyatt 1998) The second march was cancelled due to security issues. Third march was held on ninth of March 1965 in which 2500 people both white and Black confronted against each other. However, this confrontation resulted into the loss of political support for King but it eventually provided a platform for the approval of voting right acts of 1965.

Chicago campaign

In 1967 King started expending his civil rights movement in other American cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago. He addressed a rally organized by Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors CCCO [19]. In his speech he announced The Chicago campaign. in July King led “freedom Sunday” [20]rally. The purpose of rally was to Make Chicago “open city”[21]. Once gain violence accrued during this rally. as a result few violent whites attacked on the march. The King held “summit agreement” with Mayor and other prominent leaders of Chicago to sort down the issue. (Pipes 2007)

Poor people campaign

In 1967 the King planned to change the mechanism of economic and wealth distribution. However, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) did not support it. He launched the poor people’s campaign. The purpose was to secure the jobs and income of the Negros.. He spoke to the workers in the Memphis but violence also disturbed the campaign.

Role in politics and state policies

Martin Luther King openly opposed the American policies towards Vietnam. He declared war as unfair decision and it cannot win by any mean. He laid stress towards peaceful negotiations. Furthermore, he explained that this war have weekend the American economy as well as had Negative impacts on the civil right movements. King had very good relations with john F Kennedy[22]. During his presidential elections campaign in 1960; King supported him and urged the Negroes community to support him. With the help of Kennedy, King purposed civil rights bill in congress. However, Eisenhower[23] was against Martin Luther King’s policy about the racial inequality but he accepted the two bills in 1957 and 1960. (History wired 1994).


King’s assassination was a controversial one. King visited Memphis where he addressed to a Rally at Mason temple[24]. On 4 April 1968, his flight delayed due to a bomb threat in his flight so He preferred to stay there. King stayed at Lorraine Motel. in the evening he was gunned down while he was standing in the Balcony of second floor. King was shifted to the hospital but he was expired. He was 39 year old at the time of assassination. Two months after the assassination of King, James Earl Ray[25] captured at Heathrow airport. He was charged with King’s murder and he accepted the murder charge but he rejected it after three Days. He further nominated a person who was also involved in the assassination. This Contradiction led the assassination into a new controversy and it became a mystery until now.

Personal achievements

Martin Luther King struggle earned him several achievements in his life. His efforts for the rights of Negroes made him a great leader. During his life, He honored with 50 honorary Degrees. King also awarded with noble peace prize, American liberties medallion in 1964. in America more than 700 hundred cities and streets are name after the King. King was stood 1st in a American contest organized by American multinational mass media corporation(AOL[26]. )King is also included in the list of hundred African- American great personalities. There is also public Holiday on his birthday in United States. (public commentry 1996)


Martin Luther King emerged as a significant character in the American history. His struggle for Civil and social rights earned him a dignifying status not only in United States but also completely across the world. It is because of his efforts American people gathered at a uniform plate form by negating the factor of racial discrimination. The segregations and deprivation ended. The peaceful movement led by him uprooted the violence in United States. The condemnation against Vietnam War[27] also enforced American administration to revise their policies towards the Vietnamese. King’s efforts provided a breakthrough to the Black has to participate in the social and political affairs at grand level. Barack Obama, current American president is the first African-American president of the United States. Condoleezza Rice was Also African-American who remained secretary of the states during Bush administration.


Martin Luther King (Junior) was criticized for his civil right campaign and it was considered it “provoKing violence”[28]. The civil rights movements might endanger the whole society and community. (wendt 1966). In 1957, there was propaganda of a post card in which King was Accused of being communist. King also got a letter in which his decency and religion was Questioned. the writer declared it defected. there were allegations of cheating oh he wife and Involvement in sex scandals reported by FBI[29].


Martin Luther King (Junior) was a great leader in the American history. He devoted his whole life For a divine cause of humanity. His struggle and determinations have provided a new Mechanism to the whole humanity. He raised his voice for Deprivation of rights, social injustice And peace. His remarkable contributions provided Americans a new way out to move on collectively as nation. His personal achievement depicts his intellectual potential and moral credibility. He refused the acceptance of status quo. He acted in accord with his highest values. He always acknowledged the sacrifices of his followers. This spirit never allowed him to settle or compromise on his ideology He always emphasized that his state should negate three things war, poverty and Racism. He was a man of words who won the hearts of millions, though he is no More in the world but history will always remember his for what he had done for humanity. ‘


carson, clayborne. Auto Biogarphy of Martin luther King. Atlanta: Abacus, 1992.

History wired. March tuesday, 1994. http://historywired. si. edu/detail. cfm?ID=501.

MichaelHyatt. MichaelHyatt. 1998. http://michaelhyatt. com/eight-leadership-lessons-from-martin-luther-King-jr. html.

network, learning. “teaching and learning with new york times. ” new york times, 1964: 04.

Pipes, Kasey S. IKE’S Final battle. los Angeles ,CA: world Ahead media, 2007.

“public commentry. ” public commentry centre of justice, 1996: 04.

wendt, lloyed. “Danger in Demonstrations. ” Augest 6, 1966: 12.


[1] The autobiography of martin Luther King

[2] The King’s speech

[3] Times magazine article

[4] Highest civilian award of America

[5] Award of national academy of recordings of arts and sciences

[6] Christian Religious belief, bathing the new born baby

[7] The angriest I ever been, times magazine article 1996

[8] teacher of Martin Luther King ,public school

[9] Separate school for Blacks ,Atlanta,1930

[10] Dexter Avenue ,King remained pastor

[11] National oldest and largest civil right organization 1909.

[12] Civil right activist, known for Montgomery bus boycott

[13] Revolt By ROSA park ,civil movement 1,Dec 1955

[14] Baptist Minister, Democratic party ,Friend of Martin Luther King JR

[15] Southern leadership conference, NGO 1957,civil rights

[16] American conviction Human Rights, civil rights activist 1960

[17] Washington D. C 1963,Famous speech

[18] Protestors attacked by state troops,7 March 1965 Sunday

[19] Central committee for conscientious objectors,1948

[20] Sunday 7 October 1967,Blacks voters registration

[21] Military controls the city to maintain the peace

[22] 35th American president 1961-1963

[23] 34th American president 1953-1960

[24] King’s last speech, Central Headquarter Christian international sanctuary

[25] Alton born, known for King’s Assassination

[26] American multimedia mass corporation


[28] Danger in Demonstration by Lloyd wendt 1966

[29] The Federal Bureau of investigation ,United states intelligence Agency,


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