Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister and a civil rights activist. He was born on January 15, 1929, and given the name Michael King, Jr. His father, Michael King Sr. later changed his name to Martin Luther King in honor of the Protestant religious leader. Martin Luther King, Jr. would later choose to do the same.
In 1953, King married Coretta Scott and together they had four children. Martin Luther King, Jr. earned a doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955.
In the late 1950"s, King became a leader in the civil rights movement working to end segregation. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous, "I Have a Dream" speech to more than 200,000 people at the March on Washington.
King advocated non-violent protests and shared his belief and hope that all people could be treated as equals. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Tragically, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill designating the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring Dr. King. Many people celebrate the holiday by volunteering in their communities as a way of honoring Dr. King by giving back.
If you want to honor Dr. King on this holiday too, a few ideas could be to serve in your community, read a biography about Dr. King, choose one of his speeches or a quote and write about what it means to you, or create a timeline of the important events in his life.
If you are a teacher who wants to share Martin Luther King, Jr"s legacy with your young students, the following printouts can be helpful.