Profession: Civil Rights Activist
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.
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
Martin Luther King Shot Dead
Martin Luther King Assassination Riots
- 1953-06-18 Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. (24) marries fellow activist and singer Coretta Scott (26)
- 1955-12-05 Montgomery Improvement Association formed by Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Edgar Nixon to support the Montgomery bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama
- 1956-01-30 Martin Luther King Jr's home bombed
- 1956-12-21 Martin Luther King Jr. and others sit in the new integrated bus
- 1957-01-12 Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) founded with Martin Luther King Jr. as leader at Ebenezer Church in Atlanta
- 1957-02-13 Southern Christian Leadership Conference organizes in New Orleans with Martin Luther King Jr. as President
- 1960-10-19 Martin Luther King Jr. arrested in Atlanta sit-in
- 1961-08-16 Martin Luther King Jr protests for black voting rights in Miami, Florida
- 1961-12-12 Martin Luther King Jr. & 700 demonstrators are arrested in Albany, Georgia
- 1962-07-10 Martin Luther King Jr. arrested during demonstration in Georgia
- 1962-07-27 Martin Luther King Jr. jailed in Albany, Georgia
- 1963-08-28 Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I have a dream" speech addressing the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom civil rights march at Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
- 1964-10-14 Martin Luther King Jr. announced as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
- 1964-11-18 J. Edgar Hoover describes Martin Luther King as "most notorious liar"
- 1964-12-01 Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to J. Edgar Hoover about his slander campaign
- 1964-12-10 Nobel Peace Prize presented to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Oslo, Norway
- 1965-01-02 Martin Luther King Jr. begins a drive to register black voters
- 1965-02-01 Martin Luther King Jr. and 700 demonstrators arrested in Selma, Alabama
- 1965-03-21 Martin Luther King Jr. begins march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
- 1965-03-25 Martin Luther King Jr. leads 25,000 to state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama
- 1966-01-17 Martin Luther King Jr. opens campaign in Chicago
- 1966-08-05 Martin Luther King Jr. stoned during Chicago march
- 1968-03-04 Martin Luther King Jr. announces plans for Poor People's Campaign
- 1968-04-04 US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee
- 1968-04-04 Riots break out in over 100 cities in the United States following the assassination of African-American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr
- 1968-04-07 Riots continue in over 100 US cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
- 1968-04-09 Martin Luther King Jr., buried in Atlanta
- 1977-07-11 US Medal of Freedom awarded posthumously to Rev Martin Luther King Jr
- 1979-01-14 US President Jimmy Carter proposes Martin Luther King's birthday be a holiday
- 1983-10-19 US Senate establishes Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday
- 1983-11-02 US President Ronald Reagan signs bill establishing Dr Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
- 1986-01-20 1st federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr
- 1991-03-19 NFL owners strip Phoenix of 1993 Super Bowl game due to Arizona Not recognizing Martin Luther King Day
- 1993-01-18 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observed in all 50 states of the USA for 1st time
- 2015-09-24 Pope Francis becomes the 1st pope to address the US Congress. Names Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day as his American heroes.
- 2018-03-13 National Geographic magazine admits its past coverage was racist in issue to mark 50 years since death of Martin Luther King Jr.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
- Martin Luther King Jr. - Biography - Nobel Prize