Martin Luther King Key events in the life of MLK and the civil rights movement 1929 Martin Luther King, Jr. is born to Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr. on January 15 in Atlanta, Georgia. 1947 King is licensed to preach and begins assisting his father, who is a pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
1948 King is ordained as a Baptist minister on February 25. In June, he graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta and receives a scholarship to study divinity at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. 1949 While studying at Crozer, King attends a lecture by Dr. Mordecai Johnson on the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi and is inspired to delve deeper into the teachings of the Indian social philosopher. 1951 King graduates from Crozer with a Bachelor of Divinity degree.
He is class valedictorian and winner of the Pearl Plafker Award for most outstanding student. In September, he begins doctoral studies in theology at Boston University, where he studies personalism with Edgar Sheffield Brightman and L. Harold De Wolf. 1953 King marries Coretta Scott at her family’s home in Marion, Alabama on June 18. 1954 In May, the Brown v.
Board of Education decision paves the way for school desegregation as the Supreme Court of the United States uninamously rules racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The same month, King accepts a position as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. On October 31, he is installed as the church’s twentieth pastor. 1955 Having completed his dissertation, King is awarded his Ph.D. from Boston University. On November 17, Yolanda Denise (Yoki), the King’s first child is born.
Less than one month later, on December 5, the Montgomery bus boycott begins after Mrs. Rosa Park, a seamstress, is arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person. King is elected president of the newly formed Montgomery Improvement Association and assumes leadership of the boycott, which will last 381 days. 1956 The King’s home is bombed on January 30. Although Mrs.
King and Yolanda are at home with a friend, no one is injured. In Early February, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa is ordered by the Supreme Court to admit its first black student, Autherine Lucy. When white students demonstrate, Lucy is suspended from the University of Alabama for reasons of safety. A federal district judge orders her reinstated. When she is expelled again, she makes no further effort to enroll, and the University remains segregated until 1963.
On February 21, King is indicted, along with twenty-four other ministers and more than one hundred other blacks, for conspiring to prevent the Montgomery bus company from operation of business. A United States Discrit Court rules on June 4 that racial segregation on Alabama’s city bus lines is unconstitutional. On November 13, the United States Supreme Court uninamously upholds the decision. On December 21, blacks and whites in Montgomery ride for the first time on previously segregated buses. 1957 More than sixty black ministers, committed to a southern civil rights movement, respond to King’s call for a meeting.
In Atlanta on January 9 and 10, they form the organization that will become the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SLCL). While King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy are in Atlanta for the meeting, Abernathy’s home and church are bombed in Montgomery. Three other Baptist churches and the home of a white minister are also bombed in response to the victory of the bus boycott. On February 14, the SCLC meets formally for the first time in New Orleans.
King is unanimously elected president. On May 17, three years to the day after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, King participates with other civil rights leaders in a Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington. He delivers his first major national address, calling for black voting rights. The next month, he meets with Vice-President Richard Nixon.
On September 9, Congress passes the 1957 Civil Rights Act, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The act created the Civil Rights Commission, established the Civil Right Division of the Justice Department, and empowered the federal government to seek court injunctions against obstruction of voting rights. The same month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalizes the Arkansas National Guard to escort nine black students to Little Rock Central High, a previously all-white high school. A thousand para-troopers are sent to restore order, and troops remain on campus for an entire school year.
When the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to delay desegregation, Little Rock schools are closed for the 1958-59 school year. When they reopen, they are integrated. Martin Luther III, the King’s second child and first son is born in Montgomery on October 23. 1958 On June 23, King, along with Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and A. Philip Randolph of the AFL-CIO, meets with President Eisenhower.
King is arrested on September 3 in front of the Montgomery Recorder’s Court and charged with loitering. The charge is later changed to failure to obey an officer. The following day, he is convicted. He decides to go to jail rather than pay the fine. Over King’s objection, the fine is paid by Montgomery Police Commissioner Clyde C. Sellers. On September 20, King is stabbed in the chest by Mrs.
Izola Curry in a Harlem department store while autographing his newly published book, STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM: THE MONTGOMERY STORY. 1959 In early February, Dr. and Mrs. King depart for a monthlong trip to India, where, as the guests of Prime Minister Nehru, they study Gandhi’s techniques of nonviolence. King submits his resignation as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on November 29.
He will join his father as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the SCLC has its headquarters. 1960 The sit-in movement begins on February 1 at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. In an effort to desegregate lunch counters, movies, hotels, libraries, and other segregated facilities, it spreads rapidly throughout the country. On May 6, the 1960 Civil Rights Act is signed. The new legislation authorizes judges to appoint referees to help blacks register and vote.
King meets with Senator John F. Kennedy, candidate for president of the United States, on June 24 to discuss racial concerns. In October, King is arrested in a sit-in at a major Atlanta department store. The charges are subsequently dropped, and all of the jailed demonstrators except King released. King is held on charge of a violating probation in a previous traffic arrest case.
He is sentenced to four months of hard labor and transferred to DeKalb County Jail in Decatur, Georgia, and from there to Reidsville State Prison. Only after Senator Kennedy intervenes is he released on two thousand dollar bail. In a 7 to 2 decision in December, the U.S. Supreme holds that discrimination in bus terminal restaurants operated for the service of interstate passengers is a violation of the Interstate Commerce Act. 1961 On January 10, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes become the first black students to enroll at the University of Georgia in Athens.
The event is peaceful. The King’s third child , Dexter Scott, is born on January 30. In March, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), along with SNCC and SCLC, announces a new campaign – the Freedom Rides. The first Freedom Riders depart from Washington, D.C., on May 4. One bus is burned and stoned in Anniston, Alabaman on May 14.
The same day, riders are attacked in Birmingham. When they arrive in Montgomery on May 20, the ensuing violence leads to martial law. In Jackson Mississippi, the riders are arrested and spend forty to sixty days in Parchman Penitentiary. In November, in large measure as a result of the Freedom Rides, the Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation on buses, trains and supportive facilities. On December 15, King arrives in Albany, Georgia to help the local movement in its fight to desegregate public facilities.
The following day King is arrested and charged with obstructing the sidewalk and parading without a permit. 1962 King is arrested at a prayer vigil at the Albany City Hall on July 27 and jailed on charges of failure to obey an officer, disorderly conduct, and obstructing the sidewalk. The Albany Movement is generally unsuccessful in its effort to force desegregation of public facilities. Two are killed and many are injured as James Meredith attempts to enroll at Ole Miss – the University of Mississippi in Oxford – in September. He is enrolled by Supreme Court order and escorted onto the campus by U.S.
marshals federalized by President John Kennedy. On October 16, King meets with President Kennedy at the White House. 1963 Bernice Albertine, the fourth child of Dr. and Mrs. King, is born on March 28.
Mass demonstrations begin in Birmingham, Alabama on April 3 to protest segregation of public facilities. On April 12, King and other ministers are arrested by Police Commissioner Eugene (Bull) Connor. King is placed placed in solitary confinement. While imprisoned, King writes his famous Letter From Birmingham Jail explaining the need for non-violent civil disobedience. When school children join the protests in Birmingham in early May, Bull Connor orders the use of fire hoses and police dogs to halt the youthful protestors.
The nation is shocked by the photographs of police brutality. On May 10, a biracial agreement is announced in Birmingham to desegregate public accomodations, increase job opportunities for blacks and provide amnesty to those arrested. White segregationists react violently to the agreement. On May 11, a bomb explodes at the home of King’s brother, Reverend A.D. King, in Birmingham.
A second explosion blasts King’s headquarters in the Gaston Motel. In response, blacks in Birmingham riot. Two hundred and fifty state troopers are sent to keep peace. On May 20, the Supreme Court rules Birmingham’s segregation ordinances unconstitutional. When black students Vivian Malone and James Hood attempt to register at the University of Alabama on June 11, Alabama …