On This Day

Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Profession: Civil Rights Activist

United States of America

Why Famous: The most visible and well-known leader of the Civil Rights Movement, King was a Baptist minister who helped advance civil rights through non-violent methods based on his Christian beliefs.

King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and helped lead the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott early in his career. After the unsuccessful Albany Movement to end segregation in Albany, Georgia, he organised the March on Washington in 1963 where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Though he alienated many of his liberal allies by calling for opposition to the Vietnam War, he remained highly popular.

In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In the midst of planning the Poor People's Campaign in Washington D.C., he was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. His death sparked massive nationwide riots. In 1986, Martin Luther King Day was inaugurated as a federal holiday.

Born: January 15, 1929
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Dragon
Star Sign: Capricorn

Died: April 4, 1968 (aged 39)
Cause of Death: Assassination

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Married Life

  • 1953-06-18 Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. (24) marries fellow activist and singer Coretta Scott (26)

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Biographies and Sources

Famous Civil Rights Activists