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Research paper topic: Education And Early Life Martin Luther King, Jr, Was Born In Atlanta, Georgia, The Oldest Son Of Martin Luther King Sr, A Bap - 1951 words
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EDUCATION AND EARLY LIFE Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the oldest son of Martin Luther King Sr., a Baptist minister, and Alberta Williams King. His father was a pastor at an immense Atlanta church, The Ebenezer Baptist church, which had been founded by Martin Luther King Jr.'s maternal grandfather. King Jr. was an ordained Baptist minister at the age of 18. King attended the local segregated public schools, where he excelled.
He attended nearby Morehouse College at age 15 and earned his bachelor's degree when he graduated. When he graduated with honors from, Crozer Seminary located in Pennsylvania in 1951, he went to Boston University where he earned a doctoral degree in systematic theology in 1955. King's public-speaking abilities - which would become renowned as his stature grew in the civil rights movement - developed slowly during his collegiate years. The first couple of years at Crozer his public-speaking was looked upon as average and he received C's in each of his public-speaking classes in his first year. But King worked and worked on his public-speaking that, by the end of his third year at Crozer, the professors were praising King for the powerful impression he made in public speeches and discussions. Throughout his education, King was exposed to influences that related Christians theology to the struggles of oppressed peoples.
At Morehouse, Crozer, and Boston University, he studied the teachings on the nonviolent protests of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi. King also read and heard the sermons of white ministers who protested against American racism. All of these things were especially important in shaping King's theological development. While in Boston, King met Coretta Scott, a music student and native of Alabama. They were married in 1953 and would have four children.
In 1954 King accepted his first pastoring job at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, a church in Montgomery, Alabama, a church with a well educated congregation that had recently been led by a minister who had protested against racism and segregation. THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT In Montgomery's black community there were longstanding grievances about the mistreatment of blacks on city buses. Many white bus drivers treated blacks rudely. It was not uncommon to find blacks being cursed out and humiliated because of the segregation laws being forced on them. These laws forced black bus riders to sit in the back of the bus and give up their seats to white passengers on crowded buses.
By the early 1950's Montgomery's blacks had discussed boycotting the buses in an effort to gain better treatment. On December 1,1955, Rosa Parks, a leading member of the local branch of the National Advancement of Colored People, was ordered to move and give up her seat to a white passenger. When she refused she was arrested and taken to jail. Local leaders of the NAACP recognized that the arrest of the popular and highly respected Parks was the event that could rally local blacks to a bus protest. These leaders also believed that the city protest should be led by someone who could unify the community. Unlike the NAACP, the recently arrived King had no enemies.
Furthermore the NAACP saw King's public-speaking gifts as great assets in the battle for black civil rights in Montgomery. King was soon chosen as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization that directed the bus boycott. The Montgomery bus boycott lasted for more than a year. Incidents of violence against black protesters, including the bombing of King's home, focused media attention on Montgomery. In February 1956 an attorney for the MIA filed a lawsuit in federal seeking an injunction against Montgomery's segregated seating practices. The federal court ruled in favor of the MIA, ordering the city buses to be desegregated.
CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERSHIP In 1957 King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization of black church and ministers that aimed to challenge racial segregation. The SCLC protested discrimination through marches, demonstrations, and boycotts. King made strategic alliances with northern whites that would improve his success at influencing public opinion in the United States. Through Bayard Rustin, a black civil rights activists, King forged connections to older more knowledgeable activists who provided money and advice about strategy. In the early 1960's King led the SCLC in a series of protest campaigns that gained national attention. They joined in local demonstrations against segregated restaurants, hotels, transit, and housing.
This strategy worked because of the scenes of violent acts against young protestors in newspapers and televisions around the world. During the demonstrations, King was arrested and taken to jail. National reaction to the Birmingham violence built support for the struggle for black civil rights. The demonstrations forced white leaders to negotiate an end to some forms of segregation in Birmingham. Even more important, the protests encouraged many Americans to support national legislation against segregation. King and other black leaders organized the 1963 march on Washington D.C.
for jobs and civil rights. On August 28, 1963, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in front of an audience of 200,000 civil rights supporters. The speeches and marches gave King the political momentum he needed to gain so that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited segregation in pubic accommodations, as well as discrimination in education and employment. As a result of King's effectiveness as a leader of the American civil rights movement, and his highly visible moral stance, he was awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for peace. SELMA MARCHES In 1965 the SCLC joined a voting-rights protest march that was planned to go from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery, more than 50 miles away.
The goal of the march was to draw national attention to the struggle for black voting rights in the state. The police beat and tear-gassed the marchers just outside of Selma, and televised scenes of violence, and televised scenes of violence, on a day that came to be known as "Bloody Sunday", resulted in an outpour of sympathy and support to continue the march. The SCLC petitioned for and received a federal court order barring the police from interfering with a renewed march to Montgomery. Two weeks after "Bloody Sunday", more than 3,000 people set out toward Montgomery. They arrived in Montgomery five days later, where King addressed a rally of more than 20,000 people in front of the capitol building.
The march created support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law in August. The act suspended (and amendments to the act later banned) the use of literacy tests and other voter qualification tests that often had been used to prevent blacks from registering to vote. After the Selma protests, King had fewer dramatic successes in his struggle for black civil rights. Many white Americans who had supported his work believed that the job was done. In many ways, the nation's appetite for civil rights progress had been filled.
King also lost support among white Americans when he joined the growing number of antiwar activists in 1965 and began to publicly criticize American foreign policy in Vietnam. King's outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War (1959-1975) also angered President Johnson. On the other hand, some of King's white supporters agreed with his criticisms of the United States involvement in Vietnam so strongly that they shifted their activism from civil rights to the antiwar movement. By the mid-1960's King's role as the unchallenged leader of the civil rights movement was questioned by many younger blacks. Activists such as Stokely Carmichael of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating committee (SNCC) argued that King's nonviolent protests strategies and appeals to moral idealism were useless in the face of sustained violence by whites.
Some also rejected the leadership of ministers. In addition, many SNCC organizers resented King, feeling that often they had put in the hard work of planning and organizing protests, only to have the charismatic King arrive later and receive much of the credit. In 1966 the Black Power Movement, advocated most forcefully by Carmichael, captured the nation's attention and suggested that King's influence among blacks was waning. Black Power Advocates looked more to the beliefs of the recently assassinated black Muslim Leader, Malcolm X, whose insistence on black self reliance and the right of blacks to defend themselves against violent attacks had been embraced by many African Americans. With internals divisions beginning to divide the civil rights movement, King shifted his focus to racial injustice in the North.
Realizing that the economic difficulties of blacks in Northern cities had largely been ignored, SCLC broadened its civil rights agenda by focusing on issues related to black poverty. King established a headquarters in a Chicago apartment in 1966, using that as a base to organize protests against housing and employment discrimination in the city. Black Baptist ministers who disagreed with many of the SCLC's tactics, especially the confrontational act of sending black protesters into all white neighborhoods, publicly opposed King's efforts. The protests did not lead to significant gains and were often met with violent counter-demonstrations by whites, including neo-Nazi's and members of the Klu Klux Klan, a secret terrorist organization that was opposed to integration. Throughout 1966 and 1967 King increasingly turned his focus of his civil rights activism throughout the country to economic issues. He began to argue for redistribution of the nation's economic wealth to overcome entrenched black poverty.
In 1967 he began planning a Poor People's Campaign to pressure national lawmakers to address the issue of economic justice. ASSASSINATION This emphasis on economic rights took King to Memphis, Tennessee, to support striking black garbage workers in the spring of 1968. He was assassinated in Memphis by a sniper on April 4. News of the assassination resulted in an outpouring of shock and anger throughout the nation and the world, prompting riots in more than 100 United States cities in the days following King's death. In 1969 James Earl Ray, an escaped convict, pleaded guilty to the murder of King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
Although over the years many investigators have suspected that Ray did not act alone, no accomplices have ever been identified. After King's death, historians researching his life and career discovered that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) often tapped King's phone line and reported on his private life to the president and other government officials. The FBI's reason for invading his privacy was that King associated with Communists and other "radicals". After his death, King became known to represent black courage and achievement, high moral leadership, and the ability of Americans to address and overcome racial divisions. Recollections of his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy and poverty faded, and his soaring rhetoric call for racial justice and an integrated society became almost as familiar to subsequent generations of Americans as the Declaration of Independence. King's historical importance was memorialized at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Social Justice, a research institute that is located in Atlanta, Georgia.
Also in Atlanta is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which includes his birthplace, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the King Center, where his tomb is located. Perhaps the most important memorial is the national holiday in King's honor, designated by the Congress of the United States in 1983 and observed on the third Monday in January, a day that falls on or near Dr. King's birthday of July 15. Although he has been deceased for over thirty years, Dr. King's past actions and ideas effect us presently.
His nonviolent and peaceful ways to gain unity and racial equality are tactics used from the everyday working-class citizen, to some of the most highly recognized officials all around the world just as Gandhi's use of peaceful and nonviolent protest had a great impact on the way Dr. King did things to gain justice and equality.
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