The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was an African-American Baptist pastor born in Atlanta (Georgia) on January 15 1929 and murdered on 4 April 1968 in Memphis Tennessee.
He helped organized militant non-violent civil rights movements for African-American in the United States. He also was for peace and against poverty. Martin Luther organized and conducts activities such as the bus boycott in Montgomery to defend the right to vote, desegregation and employment of minorities . He delivered a famous speech on 28 August 1963 before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington during the march for jobs and freedom: “I have a dream” (I have a dream). John F. Kennedy supported Martin Luther in the fight against racial discrimination; the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act under the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson will promote most of these rights.
Martin Luther King became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his nonviolent struggle against racial segregation and for peace. He began a campaign against the Vietnam War and poverty, which ends in 1968 with his murder officially attributed to James Earl Ray, whose guilt and involvement in a conspiracy are still debated.
Martin Luther King Jr. is the son of a Baptist pastor Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King, a church organist. He has an elder sister, Christine King Ferris and a younger brother Albert Daniel Williams King. He grew up in segregated America. His first experience of racial segregation dates when he is six years old when two white playmates tell him they are no longer allowed to play with him. His mother explains it is because they are now in schools with white segregationist, but she stresses that he is as good as anyone.
In 1939, he sang with the choir of his church in Atlanta for the premiere of Gone with the Wind.
At the age of 15 he entered Morehouse College, a university reserved for black boys, having skipped two years of high school and without having formally received his certificate of graduation. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology on 20 June 1948 and returned to Crozes Theological Seminary for a Bachelor of Divinity in Chester (Pennsylvania) – which corresponds to a degree in theology – he gets on 12 May 1951. He received a Doctor of Philosophy from Boston University on 18 June 1955.
Accusations of plagiarism against his doctorate from Boston University in 1991 lead an official investigation of those responsible for this university. They conclude that about one third of the thesis was plagiarized from an article written by a graduate student before, but it was decided not to withdraw the name of Martin Luther, because the thesis is still “an intelligent piece that adds knowledge”. There is also borrowing some tacit speech of King, but Keith Miller supports that in the latter case, it is common practice for African Americans and that can not be seen as plagiarism. However, as Theodore Pappas notes in his book on the subject, Martin Luther had actually attended a course on the standards of intellectual production and plagiarism at Boston University and should have known better.
He married Coretta Scott on June 18 1953. They all have four children: Yolanda, born in 1955, Martin Luther King III, born in 1957, Dexter Scott, born in 1961, and Bernice in 1963.
Speeches that Changed the World: The Stories and Transcripts of the Moments that Made History. Quercus.
Baldwin, Lewis V. (1992). To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Fortress Press.
Warren, Mervyn A. (2001). King Came Preaching: The Pulpit Power of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. InterVarsity Press.
King, Jr., Martin Luther; Clayborne Carson; Peter Holloran; Ralph Luker; Penny A. Russell (1992). The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.. University of California Press.
Ling, Peter J. (2002). Martin Luther King, Jr.. Routledge.
Nojeim, Michael J. (2004). Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group