Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

A Man of Peace

By: Mrs. Porrovecchio

Martin Luther King, Jr. led a fight for equality of all black people. He did so in a way unlike many others because he led this fight peacefully. Martin Luther King, Jr. used his skills as a pastor to show people that the way to end segregation was through peace and not violence. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a hero and a role model for all.

Early Life--Life Can Be Unfair

Martin Luther King, Jr. learned as a young child how cruel life could be. He had two little white friends who he played with all the time, but one day, his friends' mother told Martin that they couldn't play together anymore--just because of the color of his skin. Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up in a time where segregation was everywhere. Black people coudn't go to the same school as whites, couldn't use the same bathrooms as whites, couldn't even sit in the same seats on a bus as whites. All these unfair laws were upsetting to Martin. He knew he wanted to help change things for his people.

A Minister of Peace

Martin Luther King, Jr. decided he would follow in his father's footsteps and study to become a minister. After graduating from Morehouse College, he continued his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. It was there that Martin learned about a great leader named Mahatma Gandhi. He learned of Gandhi's peaceful, nonviolent ways he used to gain freedom for his people in India. Martin decided that he too would use this approach to fight to end the segregation laws for his people.

An End is Near

Martin Luther King, Jr. lead the fight to end segregation through peaceful protests and powerful speeches. In 1955, he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, along with Rosa Parks, keeping blacks off buses until they had an equal opportunity to ride and sit on city buses wherever they chose. As the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement started, Martin led marches and demonstrations to fight for more equal opportunities. On August 28, 1963, Martin gave his most famous "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. He continued to fight for the freedom for his fellow black Americans. It was less than a year later that a bill was signed that ended the segregation of black and white Americans. It was mostly thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was recognized for his peaceful and nonviolent ways. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and was name Time magazines "Man of the Year" that same year. Although he did great things for his people, there were others who still did not agree with the civil rights laws. Unfortunately, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. He left behind his wife and four children. We continue to honor Dr. King each January on the third Monday of the month. We celebrate him for making America a better place.