Martin Luther King


One of the most visible advocates of nonviolence and direct action as methods of social change, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta on 15 January 1929. As the grandson of the Rev. A.D. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church and a founder of Atlanta's NAACP chapter, and the son of Martin Luther King, Sr., who succeeded Williams as Ebenezer's pastor, King's roots were in the African-American Baptist church. After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, King went on to study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and Boston University, where he deepened his understanding of theological scholarship and explored Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent strategy for social change. King married Coretta Scott in 1953, and the following year he accepted the pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. King received his Ph.D. in systematic theology in 1955. Dr. King's exposure to non-violent civil disobedience was shaped by Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience, Walter Rauschenbush's Christianity and the Social Crisis, Dr. Mordecai Johnson's sermon on the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi and his personal feelings about right and wrong. Dr. King believed that poverty caused much of the unrest in America. Not only poverty for African-Americans, but poor whites, Hispanics and Asians. Dr. King believed that the United States involvement in Vietnam was also a factor and that the war poisoned the atmosphere of the whole country and made the solution of local problems of human relations unrealistic This caused friction between King and the African-American leaders who felt that their problems deserved priority and that the African-American leadership should concentrate on fighting racial injustice at home. But by early 1967 Dr. King had become associated with the antiwar movement Dr. King continued his campaign for world peace. He traveled across America to support and speak out about civil rights and the rights of the underprivileged In April 1968 Dr. King went to Memphis, Tennessee to help the sanitation workers who were on strike. The following day, April 4 1968, as he was leaving his motel room Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed.








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