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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Today in history: April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist clergyman and activist. Martin Luther went on to become the most recognizable voice and leader in the civil rights movement.

He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is known as one of America’s greatest heroes. In the 1950s and 1960s, he fought to end laws that were unfair to African Americans.

He worked to make sure all Americans had equal rights. 

Memorial honours a man of conscience; the freedom movement of which he was a beacon; and his message of freedom, equality, justice and love. 

He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, the United States on the 4th of April 1968. 

He was the driving force behind historic events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington. These events paved the way for major laws like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is commemorated on Martin Luther King Jr. Day every year. 

Martin Luther King Jr.
Baptist clergyman, Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to prominence as a civil rights activist, advocating for peaceful means to attain equal rights for African Americans.

Luther King’s most famous achievement 

Martin Luther King, Jr. is well-known for his contributions to the civil rights struggle in the United States throughout the 1960s.

His most renowned work is his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, where he expressed his desire for the United States free of segregation and prejudice. 

How Martin Luther King Jr. Was killed 

Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968; his death sparked a wave of riots (Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago were among cities, particularly hard hit). 

After pleading guilty to assassinating King, James Earl Ray spent the rest of his life saying he was a victim of a set-up. 

Key Facts About Martin Luther King Jr. 

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist clergyman who rose to prominence as a civil rights activist, advocating for peaceful means to attain equal rights for African Americans.

2. Became a Pastor at 19: King’s father and grandfather were ministers, all pastoring at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.  

3. Founded Montgomery Improvement Association 

In 1955, Luther King founded the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). It was in conjunction with other executive members and officers of the NAACP’s Montgomery chapter. 

4. Organized March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 

On August 28, 1963, King collaborated with other civil rights activists to plan the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The march was held to oppose racial discrimination in the workplace and racial separatists in schools, as well as to demand equal pay for all workers.  

5. Role in Selma Marches for Voting Rights 

In the spring of 1965, King helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights.

During the March 7 event, King and many other nonviolent marchers were brutalized by law enforcement officers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.  

6. Provided Extensive Civil Rights Leadership 

From his arrival in Montgomery in 1955 until his tragic death in 1968, King was a very active civil rights leader.

His strong conviction in nonviolent protest influenced the civil rights movement’s tone. 

7. Legislative Changes Involved 

The civil rights movement in the United States resulted in considerable legislative change, thanks in great part to the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

8. Published number of books 

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a novelist throughout his life. While working for African Americans, he authored several books and essays about his thoughts and experiences in the civil rights struggle.

Among King’s works are:  

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. 

  • Strength to Love
  • Why We Can’t-Wait
  • The Measure of a Man
  • The Trumpet of Conscience
  • Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community
  • Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike

 

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