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Who Was Martin Luther King Jr?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Clark chapter.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. Following his grandfather and father’s steps, King became a Baptist minister.

King attended segregated schools in Georgia and graduated high school at 15-years-old, having skipped both ninth and eleventh grades. At 19, he received a B.A. from Morehouse College, again following the paternal steps set before him. He went on to receive his B.D. from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he was elected president of his senior class. From a fellowship he won from Crozer, King then attended Boston University, receiving his doctorate degree in 1955.

King met and married Coretta Scott, with whom they had two sons and two daughters.

King continued his pastorial path at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. 

He was at this time a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In early December of 1955, he lead his first nonviolent demonstration, the bus boycott, which lasted 382 days. After which, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the laws that required segregation on buses unconsitutional.

During these boycott days, however, King was arrested and his home was bombed.

In 1957, King was elected the president of the Southern Christain Leadership Conference, which helped provide leadership for the civil rights movement. King, thus, set out to speak to over 2,500 times, calling for action. He planned drives in Alabama for voter registration for Black citizens. He directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C. of 250,000 people, and delivered his “I Have a Dream” speach. He met with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. King even became the Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963. King also went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 33.

On April 4, 1968, while standing on his balcony of a motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, King was assassinated.

King was a symbolic leader and national figure.

Monica Sager is a freelance writer from Clark University, where she is pursuing a double major in psychology and self-designed journalism with a minor in English. She wants to become an investigative journalist to combat and highlight humanitarian issues. Monica has previously been published in The Pottstown Mercury, The Week UK, Worcester Telegram and Gazette and even The Boston Globe. Read more of Monica’s previous work on her Twitter @MonicaSager3.