Martin Luther King, Jr.
1.69 m or 5feet 6.5inches
Death Date: April 4, 1968
Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the principal leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. King challenged racial discrimination and segregation, and he was a prominent advocate of non-violent protest. A long, long way to go, but I think the important thing is that we are making progress.
King was born in 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.
He was ordained a Baptist minister at the age of 18. King then graduated from Morehouse College in 1948, and then from Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951.
He met his future wife Coretta Scott whilst he was earning a doctoral degree in Systematic Theology at Boston University. King led the black boycott of segregated city bus lines in the mid 1950s. In 1956, he gained a major victory as a civil rights leader when buses in Montgomery, Alabama began operating on a desegregated basis.
King and fellow civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or SCLC which earned him a greater platform to pursue further civil rights activities. His campaigns in Birmingham, Alabama, Selma, Alabama, and St. Augustine, Florida, were strategic efforts to promote civil rights for African Americans.
During these protests, hundreds of marchers were assaulted, arrested and jailed. In 1963, King spearheaded a march in Washington, which brought together a quarter of a million people. An end to racial segregation in public schools, and meaningful civil rights legislation including a law prohibiting employers from racially discriminating, were among the topics discussed.
In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. King and the SCLC attempted to organize a march from Selma, Alabama to the State capital of Montgomery, Alabama. The demonstration was aborted due to violence against the participants caused by outraged citizens and the police. The day has since become known as Bloody Sunday.
This was a major turning point in an effort to garner public support for the Civil Rights Movement. King’s plans for a poor people’s march to Washington were interrupted when he took a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, in order to support sanitation workers who were on strike. On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis. James Earl Ray, a career criminal, pleaded guilty to the murder and was convicted shortly thereafter. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill which honoured King by designating January 20th as Martin Luther King Jr. day. By January 17th, 2000, the holiday was recognised in all 50 states.