Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. posed challenges to segregation and racial
discrimination in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s through non-
violent and peaceful moves and put across his message to the white
Americans to help support the cause of the civil rights.
After his assassination in 1968 at the prime time of his civil rights
movement, King became a symbol of protest in the blacks' struggle for
racial justice in America. (Badger)
King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. His father served
as pastor of a large Atlanta church, Ebenezer Baptist. King Jr. was
ordained as a Baptist minister at the age of 18. (Badger)
King attended local segregated public schools and graduated with a
bachelor's degree in sociology from Morehouse College in 1948. He graduated
with honors from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania in 1951. He
earned a doctoral degree in systematic theology from Boston University.
King was exposed to influences that related Christian theology to the
struggles of oppressed peoples throughout his academic career. He also
studied the teachings on non-violent movement of Indian leader Mohandas
Gandhi. Benjamin E. Mays, a leader in the national community of racially
liberal clergymen, played a key role in shaping King's theological
In 1954 King accepted his first pastorate at the Dexter Avenue Baptist
Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Civil Rights Movement
King became one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC) in 1957 and also became its President. SCLC was an
organization of black churches and ministers that opposed racial
segregation. The SCLC supported the NAACP's legal efforts to put an end to
segregation through the courts with nonviolent direct action to protest
racial discrimination. These acti...