Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929. He was the second child and first son of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., and Alberta Williams King. Two other children born to the Kings were Willie Christine King Farris and Alfred Daniel Williams King. Martin Luther King, Jr., began his education in segregated public school in Georgia. He skipped several grades in school and entered high school in the fall of 1942 at the age of 13. Because he skipped both the ninth and twelfth grades of high school and passed his college entrance examinations with a high score, he entered Morehouse College at the age of 15.
1948—graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Morehouse College.
1951—graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.
1955—completed his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at Boston University.
Martin Luther King, Jr., married Coretta Scott on June 18, 1953. The two met and began dating while Coretta Scott was enrolled at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music and Martin Luther King, Jr., was working on his doctorate at Boston University's School of Theology. They had four children Yolanda Denise on November 17, 1955, Martin Luther, III on October 23, 1957, Dexter Scott on January 30, 1961 and Bernice Albertine on March 28, 1963. Rev. King entered the Christian ministry and was ordained in February 1948 when he was 19 years old. Following his ordination, he became assistant Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father was Pastor. Once Rev. King completed his studies, he became Pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and remained there until 1959. In November 1959, Rev. King resigned from Dexter Avenue Baptist and moved back to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). From 1960 until his death in 1968, Rev. King was co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church and President of the SCLC.
Rev. King’s public role as an activist for civil rights began in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. In the fourteen years from his call to Montgomery to his assassination, Rev. King established through his life and actions a legacy of hope that America would realize its full potential as one of the greatest nations. The Montgomery boycott put Rev. King in the national spotlight. Time magazine featured a cover story on Rev. King and the boycott on February 18, 1957. Rev. King would appear on two other covers of Time magazine in his lifetime. In 1964, Rev. King won Time’s Man of the Year, which was the same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize. The March 1965 Time magazine covered the violence that occurred in Selma, Alabama during a civil rights march. In May 1957, Rev. King gave his first national address, “Give Us The Ballot,” at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. at The Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. Also that year, Southern Black ministers met in Atlanta to share strategies in the fight against segregation. King was named chairman of the Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration, which was later known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
Rev. King’s first book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, was published in September 1958. During a book signing in Harlem, New York, King was stabbed with a letter opener by Izola Ware Curry, an African American woman. The tip of the blade pressed against his aorta and a very delicate surgery, involving the removal of a rib and portions of his breastbone, was required to save his life. In 1960, Rev. King moved his family back to Atlanta where he could work full-time for the SCLC and assist his father on a part-time basis at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In October of that year, Rev. King was arrested during a sit-in demonstration at Rich’s department store in Atlanta. This arrest triggered additional charges in a neighboring county where he