(WKBN) – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, led the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s.
King, who was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929, led a 383 citywide bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.
The African-American community eventually took the matter to court, citing the Brown V. Board of Education decision, which says “separate is never equal.” After a hard battle, the law mandating segregated transportation was lifted.
On October 19, 1960, King and 75 students entered a local department store and requested lunch-counter service but were denied. When they refused to leave the counter area, King and 36 others were arrested, according to biography.com.
It was one of many arrests for King, who was arrested a total of 29 times throughout his life while playing an integral part in the movement.
King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream Speech,” delivered in front of a crowd of 250,000 in Washington, is one of the most famous speeches in history.
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” he said in the speech.
The following year, at age 35, King won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest person to have done so.
In his acceptance speech he said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality”.
On April 3, 1968, King gave his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” in Memphis, Tenn.
“I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land,” he said.
The next day as he stood on a balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel, he was shot by a sniper.
James Earl Ray was later arrested for the murder after a two-month, international manhunt. He was later sentenced to 99 years after pleading guilty.