American Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

About the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., history and biography of the pacifist.


MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (1929--1968)

His Person: American clergyman and civil rights leader. From a family of Baptist ministers who pioneered in resisting racial discrimination. Gained national recognition at age 26 for his leadership of the 382-day Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. Counseled love and forgiveness to his heavily armed neighbors after his house was bombed by segregationists. An eloquent and inspirational speaker. Led campaigns for integration, equal education, voting rights, and fair hiring practices for black Americans. Fought poverty, racism, and war. Advocated Gandhian tactics of civil disobedience and militant nonviolence. Led the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom (1957), the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963), the Selma--Montgomery march (1965), and the Mississippi march (1966). Arrested more than 15 times and chosen as target for government harassment. Assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., while supporting a garbage workers' strike. Called "the most notorious liar in the country" by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Chosen Man of the Year by Time magazine (1963). Youngest person, at 35, to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

His Belief: "All humanity is involved in a single process, and all men are brothers. To the degree that I harm my brother, no matter what he is doing to me, to that extent I am harming myself."

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