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Martin Luther King, Jr.

 


"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

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Attribution: Open letter to clergymen,  “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Why We Can’t Wait

Date: Apr. 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

1929–1968

American clergyman and civil-rights leader, born in Atlanta, GA. King graduated from Morehouse College in 1948, Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951 and received his doctorate from Boston University in 1955. The son of a pastor himself, King became the minister of the Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL. in 1954. He led the black boycott of segregated city buses and in 1956 gained a major victory and prestige as a civil-rights leader when the buses began to run without segregation. King organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), first in the South and later nationwide. His philosophy of nonviolent resistance led to his arrest on numerous occasions in the 1950s and 60s. His campaigns had mixed success, but the protest he led in Birmingham, AL, in 1963 brought him worldwide attention. He spearheaded the 1963, March on Washington, which brought together more than 200,000 people. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His interests, however, widened from civil rights to include concern over the Vietnam War and a deeper concern over poverty. On April 4, 1968, he was shot and killed while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Since 1991, the motel has become a civil-rights museum.

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