Happy Martin Luther King Day 2014! Timeline of Life Events

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Happy Martin Luther King Day! I know many of us look forward to the day off from work in January, but let’s take some time to appreciate who this amazing man really was. If I had to sum Dr. King up in a few words, these 3 words come to mind: Dedication, Strength, and Courage. I was blessed as a child to attend schools that taught about Martin Luther King Jr. and black history in general, but for those of you reading who may not have been so fortunate here’s a  brief timeline of history  on this amazing African American hero, followed by my thoughts on how this applies today.


Martin Luther King Jr. is born to The Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr. at noon on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.



At 15 years old he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and was accepted into Morehouse College.


Begins graduate studies at Boston University.


Settles down in Montgomery, Alabama after marrying Coretta Scott.



He receives Doctorate of Philosophy in Systematic Theology from Boston University with the dissertation titled:  A Comparison of the Conception of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.

Joins the bus boycott after the arrest of Rosa Parks on December 1. He became the boycott’s official spokesman on December 5 when he was elected as the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.

rosa parks


The the Supreme Court rules bus segregation as illegal, proving the boycott victorious.


“King forms the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to fight segregation and achieve civil rights.

On May 17, Dr. King speaks to a crowd of 15,000 in Washington, D.C.” (Brown, Clark & Carrasquel, n.d.)


Stride Toward Freedom, his first book, is published.

stride towards freedom

“On a speaking tour, Martin Luther King, Jr. is nearly killed when stabbed by an assailant in Harlem.

Met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Lester Grange on problems affecting black Americans.”  (Brown, Clark & Carrasquel, n.d.)


King visits India in order to study Gandhi’s nonviolence philosophy.



Lunch counter sit-ins begin in North Carolina.

He is arrested during an Atlanta sit-in as he waits to be served. Although he is sentenced to jail for four months, he is released due to the intervention of Robert Kennedy and John Kennedy.



“In November, the Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation in interstate travel due to work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Freedom Riders.

Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) began first Freedom Ride through the South, in a Greyhound bus, after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed segregation in interstate transportation” (Brown, Clark & Carrasquel, n.d.).


“On Good Friday, April 12, King is arrested with Ralph Abernathy by Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor for demonstrating without a permit.

Dr. King arrested

On April 13, the Birmingham campaign is launched. This would prove to be the turning point in the war to end segregation in the South.

During the eleven days he spent in jail, MLK writes his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail

letter from birmingham

On May 10, the Birmingham agreement is announced. The stores, restaurants, and schools will be desegregated, hiring of blacks implemented, and charges dropped” (Brown, Clark & Carrasquel, n.d.).

On June 23, 125,000 people are led by King on a Freedom Walk in Detroit.

freedom march

“The March on Washington held August 28 is the largest civil rights demonstration in history with nearly 250,000 people in attendance.

march on washington

At the march, King makes his famous I Have a Dream speech.

i have a dream speech

On November 22, President Kennedy is assassinated” (Brown, Clark & Carrasquel, n.d.).


In January King is recognized and displayed on Time magazine the Man of the Year.

man of the year

In July, he attends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 signing ceremony at the White House.

On December 10, at age 35, King was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

martin luther king nobel peace prize


“On February 2, King is arrested in Selma, Alabama during a voting rights demonstration.

After President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law, Martin Luther King, Jr. turns to socioeconomic problems” (Brown, Clark & Carrasquel, n.d.).


The March Against Fear begins in the South.



“King announces that the Poor People’s Campaign will culminate in a March on Washington demanding a $12 billion Economic Bill of Rights guaranteeing employment to the able-bodied, incomes to those unable to work, and an end to housing discrimination.

Dr. King marches in support of sanitation workers on strike in Memphis, Tennessee.

On March 28, King lead a march that turns violent. This was the first time one of his events had turned violent” (Brown, Clark & Carrasquel, n.d.).

King’s last speech, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, was delievered.


Dr. King is shot on the balcony of a Memphis hotel on April 4th. At sunset on April 4, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Riots form in over 130 American cities. Twenty thousand people were arrested.

Martin Luther King Jr funeral is held on April 9th. It is an international event.

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Congress passes The Open Housing Act in less than a week after the assassination.


On November 2, a national holiday is proclaimed in King’s honor.

Today’s Question is “What can we take away from Dr. King’s life history and apply to today?”

I believe that Dr. King’s life depicts the fight for change. Although he preached and lived non-violence, he was attacked and arrested many times, some instances are not even included in the timeline above. What our generation should take away from this, in my opinion, is the desire for us all to stand up and fight for a worthy cause. Many young black men try to prove themselves as men with violence and living up to a false image depicted in the media. They are willing to fight, to struggle, to kill, to go to jail, for essentially nothing. Dr. King endured so much of this as a real man fighting for his people. He and others like him should be our influence instead of images of debauchery, materialism, and ignorance. Let’s remind our black men, and women for that matter, that true courage brings change for the better, not more death and sorrow. Below is Dr. King’s famous I Have a Dream speech for your viewing pleasure. Please answer Today’s Question in the comments or leave feedback about the post!

Peace, Freedom and Love <3


Brown, M., Clark, I., & Carrasquel, A. (n.d.). Timeline of Events in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Life. LSU. Retrieved January 18, 2014, from http://www.lib.lsu.edu/hum/mlk/srs216.html


4 thoughts on “Happy Martin Luther King Day 2014! Timeline of Life Events

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