Martin Luther King Jr. 1929 -1968
I Have a Dream
Many historic moments in the civil rights struggle have been used to identify Martin Luther King, Jr. — prime mover of the Montgomery bus boycott, keynote speaker at the March on Washington, and youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. But in retrospect, single events are less important than the fact that King, and his policy of nonviolent protest, was the dominant force in the civil rights movement during its decade of greatest achievement, from 1955 to 1968.
He married Coretta Scott in 1953. He then returned South to become pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. Here, he made his first mark on the civil-rights movement, by mobilizing the black community during a 382-day boycott of the city's bus lines. King overcame arrest and other violent harassment, including the bombing of his home. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court declared bus segregation unconstitutional. His long and distinguished career of non-violent protest was an inspiration to the nation and the world.
King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee just before he was engaged to speak at a rally in support of striking garbage workers. Although James Earl Ray was convicted of the shooting, he later recanted and many believe, as do members of the King family that Martin was the victim of a government (FBI) assassination plot.
(Excerpt from his famous speech delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.)