A Look At Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life and Legacy

Martin Luther King Jr., a native-born Atlantan, lived his life both as a teacher and a student, a preacher and a follower, and a father and a son

Martin Luther King Jr. As A Teenager by AP Photo, FileWABE 90.1 FM

On Jan. 15, 1929, King was born Michael Luther King Jr. His father later changed both his and his son’s first name to Martin.

King earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Morehouse College.

Martin Luther King Jr. And His Family by Associated PressWABE 90.1 FM

King became ordained a Baptist minister by his father.

In Boston, King met another southerner, Coretta Scott, a music student. They later married at her home in rural Alabama on June 18, 1953.

Martin Luther King Jr. During His “I Have a Dream” Speech by Associated PressWABE 90.1 FM

King’s nonviolent demonstrations against legalized segregation in cities like Birmingham, Alabama, attracted more followers to the civil rights movement.

King headlined The March on Washington in 1963.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife, Coretta Scott King (1965-03-25)WABE 90.1 FM

However, King’s popularity waned as he shifted his focus to economic inequality and spoke out against the Vietnam War, historian David Garrow said.

On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated by gunshot.

Martin Luther King Recruiting by AP Photo / Jack ThornellWABE 90.1 FM

How Dr. King Spent The Last Year Of His Life

With the ongoing Vietnam War and fight for human rights, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last year alive proved to be a turbulent time.

Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Smith (left), and Ralph Abernathy by Jack Thornell, Associated PressWABE 90.1 FM

During King’s last year of life, his public messages went beyond just advocating for racial civil rights. He was on a crusade for human rights.

Washington Monument by AP Photo, FileWABE 90.1 FM

Why ‘I Have a Dream’ Remains Among The 10 Most Memorable Speeches In History

In 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, addressed a crowd of an estimated 250,000 people, and declared, “I have a dream.”

Ralph Abernathy by Horace Cort / Associated PressWABE 90.1 FM

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Right-Hand Adviser: The Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy

The Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, Martin Luther King Jr.’s close adviser and “best friend,” was one of the most influential leaders during the civil rights movement. 

Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy by Fred J. Griffith / AP PhotoWABE 90.1 FM

Abernathy, one of 12 children born in rural Linden, Alabama, in 1926, and worked as a Baptist minister.

He met King in his 20s after hearing him minister at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Revs. Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and Ralph Abernathy by AP PhotoWABE 90.1 FM

Abernathy co-founded the SCLC with King and other leaders in 1957. When King died in 1968, Abernathy carried the torch and continued their initiatives as SCLC’s president.

Credits: Story

Marcus Howard, Lauren Booker and Kaitlyn Lewis contributed to this report.

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