Honoring Dr. King
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Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Martin Luther King, Sr., Plants the Seeds of Change

That life began in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929. The Reverend Michael King and his wife, Alberta, named their first son Michael Luther. Later, Reverend King changed his and his son's name to Martin Luther in honor of the great sixteenth-century reformer.

Like his chosen namesake, Martin Luther King, Sr., devoted his life to righting wrongs. As pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the reverend urged the members of his church to stand up to the Jim Crow laws—local laws that denied equal treatment to African Americans. These laws forced African Americans to wait at the back of the store, sit at the back of the bus, go to separate schools, and live in separate neighborhoods. Jim Crow laws even forced African Americans to use separate elevators. These laws violated civil rights, which are guaranteed to all Americans under the United States Constitution.

Reverend King did more than preach about civil rights. He put his words into action. In January 1935, the Reverend organized a protest against the segregation of elevators at the local county courthouse. Eight months later he ran a drive to register African American voters. In 1939, he and several hundred others marched to Atlanta's city hall to demonstrate the political strength of African Americans. He believed his people could use their votes to change the laws and the lawmakers. Martin Luther King, Sr., was planting the seeds for a national civil rights movement.



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