Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is born to Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King,
Sr. (former Alberta Christine Williams) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. King attends David T. Howard Elementary School, Atlanta University
Laboratory School, and Booker T. Washington High
School. He passes the entrance examination to Morehouse College in Atlanta,
Georgia without graduating from high school.
Dr. King is licensed to preach.
Dr. King is ordained to the Baptist ministry and appointed associate
pastor at Ebenezer.
Dr. King graduates from Morehouse College with a BA degree in Sociology.
Dr. King enters Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.
After hearing Dr. A. J. Muste and Dr. Mordecai W. Johnson preach on the
life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, he begins to study Gandhi seriously.
Dr. King graduates from Crozer with a Bachelor of Divinity degree.
Dr. King marries Coretta Scott in Marion, Alabama.
The Supreme Court of the United States rules unanimously in Brown vs.
Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. appoints Dr. King as the twentieth pastor
of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Dr. King receives a Ph.D. degree in Systematic Theology from Boston University.
The Kings first child, Yolanda Denise, is born in Montgomery, Alabama.
Mrs. Rosa Parks, a forty-two year old Montgomery seamstress, refuses
to relinquish her bus seat to a white man and is arrested.
The first day of the Montgomery bus boycott and the trial date of Mrs.
Parks. A meeting of movement leaders is held. Dr. King is unanimously
elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.
The Montgomery Bus Company suspends service in black neighborhoods.
Dr. King is arrested on a charge of traveling thirty miles per hour in
a twenty-five miles per hour zone in Montgomery. He is released on his
A bomb is thrown onto the porch of Dr. Kings Montgomery home. Mrs.
King and Mrs. Roscoe Williams, wife of a church member, are in the house
with baby Yolanda Denise. No one is injured.
A suit is filed in Federal District Court asking that Montgomerys
travel segregation laws be declared unconstitutional.
Dr. King is indicted with other figures in the Montgomery bus boycott
on the charge of being party to a conspiracy to hinder and prevent the
operation of business without just or legal cause.
A United States District Court rules that racial segregation on city
bus lines is unconstitutional.
Dr. King is a speaker before the platform committee of the Democratic
Party in Chicago, Illinois.
Mayor Gayle of Montgomery, Alabama instructs the citys legal department
to file such proceedings as it may deem proper to stop the operation
of car pools and transportation systems growing out of the boycott.
The United States Supreme Court affirms the decision of the three-judge
district court in declaring Alabamas state and local laws requiring
segregation on buses unconstitutional.
Federal injunctions prohibiting segregation on buses are served on city
and bus company officials in Montgomery, Alabama. Injunctions are also
served on state officials.
ontgomery buses are integrated.
An unexploded bomb is discovered on the front porch of the Kings
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is founded.
Dr. King is featured on the cover of Time magazine.
Dr. King delivers a speech for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom celebrating
the third anniversary of the Supreme Courts desegregation decision.
The speech, titled, Give Us The Ballot, is given at the Lincoln
Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Dr. King meets with the Vice President of the United States, Richard
President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalizes the Arkansas National Guard
to escort nine Negro students to an all-white high school in Little Rock,
The first Civil Rights Act since Reconstruction is passed by Congress,
creating the Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Division of
the Department of Justice.
A second child, Martin Luther III, is born to Dr. and Mrs. King.
Dr. King, along with Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph, and
Lester Granger meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Dr. King is arrested on a charge of loitering (later changed to failure
to obey an officer) in the vicinity of the Montgomery Recorders
Court. He is released on $100.00 bond.
Dr. King is convicted after pleading Not Guilty on the charge
of failure to obey an officer. The fine is paid almost immediately, over
Dr. Kings objection, by Montgomery Police Commissioner Clyde C.
Dr. Kings book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, is
published by Harper & Row.
Dr. King is stabbed in the chest by Mrs. Izola Curry, who is subsequently
alleged to be mentally deranged. The stabbing occurs in Harlem, New York
while Dr. King is autographing his recently published book. His condition
was said to be serious but not critical.
Dr. King meets with Walter Reuther, President of the United Auto Workers
Union, in Detroit, Michigan.
February 2 - 10
Dr. and Mrs. King spend a month in India studying Gandhis March
techniques of nonviolence as guests of Prime Minister Jawaharal Nehru.
The King family moves to Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. King becomes co-pastor,
with his father, of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The first lunch counter sit-in to desegregate eating facilities is held
by students in Greensboro, North Carolina.
A warrant is issued for Dr. Kings arrest on charges that he had
falsified his 1956 and 1958 Alabama state income tax returns.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded to coordinate
student protests at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina on a temporary
basis. (It is to become a permanent organization in October 1960.) Dr.
King and James Lawson are the keynote speakers at the Shaw University
Dr. King is acquitted of the tax evasion charge by an all white jury
in Montgomery, Alabama.
Dr. King and A. Philip Randolph announce plans for picketing both the
Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Dr. King meets with John F. Kennedy (candidate for President of the United
States) about racial matters.
Dr. King is arrested at an Atlanta sit-in and is jailed on a charge of
violating the states trespassing law.
October 22 - 27
The trespassing charges are dropped. All jailed demonstrators are released
except Dr. King, who is held on a charge of violating a probated sentence
in a traffic arrest case. He is transferred to the Dekalb County Jail
in Decatur, Georgia, and is then transferred to the Reidsville State Prison.
He is released from the Reidsville State Prison on a $2,000.00 bond.
A third child, Dexter Scott, is born to Dr. and Mrs. King in Atlanta,
The first group of Freedom Riders, with the intent of integrating interstate
buses, leaves Washington, D.C. by Greyhound bus. The group, organized
by the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), leaves shortly after the Supreme
Court has outlawed segregation in interstate transportation terminals.
The bus is burned outside of Anniston, Alabama on May 14. A mob beats
the Freedom Riders upon their arrival in Birmingham, Alabama. The Freedom
Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, and spend forty to sixty
days in Parchman Penitentiary.
Dr. King arrives in Albany, Georgia in response to a call from Dr. W.
G. Anderson, the leader of the Albany Movement to desegregate public facilities,
which began in January 1961.
Dr. King is arrested at an Albany, Georgia demonstration. He is charged
with obstructing the sidewalk and parading without a permit.
Dr. King is tried and convicted for leading the December march in Albany,
Dr. King is invited to join the protests in Birmingham, Alabama.
Dr. King is arrested at an Albany, Georgia city hall prayer vigil and
jailed on charges of failure to obey a police officer, obstructing the
sidewalk and disorderly conduct.
James Meredith makes his first attempt to enroll at the University of
Mississippi. He is actually enrolled by Supreme Court order and is escorted
onto the Oxford, Mississippi campus by U.S. Marshals on October 1, 1962.
Dr. King meets with President John F. Kennedy at the White House for
a one-hour conference.
The Kings fourth child, Bernice Albertine, is born.
Sit-in demonstrations are held in Birmingham, Alabama to protest segregation
of eating facilities. Dr. King is arrested during a demonstration.
Dr. King writes the Letter From A Birmingham Jail while imprisoned
May 3 - 5
Eugene Bull Connor, Director of Public Safety of Birmingham,
Alabama, orders the use of police dogs and fire hoses against the marching
protesters, including young adults and children.
The Supreme Court of the United States rules Birmingham, Alabamas
segregation ordinances unconstitutional.
Dr. Kings book, Strength To Love, is published by Harper &
Governor George C. Wallace tries to stop the court ordered integration
of the University of Alabama by standing in the schoolhouse door
and personally refusing entrance to black students and Justice Department
officials. President John F. Kennedy then federalizes the Alabama National
Guard, and Governor Wallace removes himself from blocking the entrance
of the Negro students.
Medgar Evers, NAACP leader in Jackson, Mississippi, is assassinated
at his home in the early morning darkness. His memorial service
is held in Jackson on June 15. He is buried in Arlington National
Cemetery, Washington D.C. on June 19.
The March on Washington, the first large-scale integrated protest march,
is held in Washington, D.C. Dr. King delivers his I Have A Dream
speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Afterwards he and other Civil
Rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy in the White House.
Governor Wallace orders the Alabama state troopers to stop the court
ordered integration of Alabamas elementary and high schools until
he is enjoined by court injunction from doing so. By September 10 specific
schools are actually integrated by court order.
Four young girls are killed in a Birmingham, Alabama church bombing.
President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) initiates the Mississippi Summer
Project, a voter registration drive organized and run by black and white
May - June
Dr. King joins other SCLC workers in a demonstration for the integration
of public accommodations in St. Augustine, Florida. He is jailed.
Dr. Kings book, Why We Cant Wait, is published by Harper
Three civil rights workers, James Chaney (black), Andrew Goodman and
Michael Schwerner (both white), are reported missing after a short trip
to Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Dr. King attends the signing of the Public Accommodations Bill, (Part
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the
Riots occur in Harlem, New York. One black man is killed.
Riots occur in New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The bodies of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and
Michael Schwerner are discovered by FBI Agents buried near the town of
Philadelphia, Mississippi. Neshoba County Sheriff Rainey and his deputy,
Cecil Price, are allegedly implicated in the murders.
Dr. King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy visit West Berlin at the invitation
of Mayor Willy Brandt.
Dr. King has an audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
Dr. King receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
Malcolm X, leader of the Organization of Afro-American Unity and former
Black Muslim leader, is murdered in New York City.
A group of marching demonstrators (from SNCC and SCLC) led by SCLCs
Hosea Williams are beaten when crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their
planned march to Montgomery, Alabama, from Selma, Alabama. Their attackers
were state highway patrolmen under the direction of Al Lingo and sheriffs
deputies under the leadership of Jim Clark. An order by Governor Wallace
had prohibited the march.
Unitarian minister, James Reeb, is beaten by four white segregationists
in Selma. He dies two days later.
President Johnson addresses the nation and Congress. He describes the
voting rights bill he will submit to Congress in two days and uses the
slogan of the Civil Rights Movement, We Shall Overcome.
Sheriffs deputies and police on horseback in Montgomery, Alabama
beat black and white demonstrators.
March 21 25
Over three thousand protest marchers leave Selma for a march to Montgomery,
Alabama protected by federal troops. They are joined along the way by
a total of twenty-five thousand marchers. Upon reaching the capitol, they
hear an address by Dr. King.
Mrs. Viola Liuzzo, wife of a Detroit Teamsters Union business agent,
is shot and killed while driving a carload of marchers back to Selma.
Dr. King visits Chicago, Illinois. SCLC joins with the Coordinating Council
of Community Organizations (CCCO), led by Al Raby, in the Chicago Project.
August - December
In Alabama, SCLC spearheads voter registration campaigns in Green and Wilcox
counties, and in the cities of Montgomery, Birmingham, and Eutaw, Alabama.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act is signed by President Johnson.
In Watts, the black ghetto of Los Angeles, riots leave a total of thirty-five
dead. Twenty-eight are black.
Dr. King rents an apartment in the black ghetto of Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. King meets with Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Black Muslims, in
Dr. King takes over a Chicago slum building and is sued by its owner.
The Supreme Court of the United States rules all poll tax unconstitutional.
Dr. King tours Alabama to help elect black candidates.
The Alabama Primary is held, and for the first time since Reconstruction,
blacks vote in significant numbers.
An antiwar statement by Dr. King is read at a large Washington rally
to protest the war in Vietnam. Dr. King agrees to serve as a co-chairman
of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam.
Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks (SNCC) use the slogan Black
Power in public for the first time before reporters in Greenwood,
James Meredith is shot soon after beginning his 220-mile March
Against Fear from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi.
Dr. King launches a drive to make Chicago an open city regarding
Dr. King is stoned in Chicago as he leads a march through crowds of angry
whites in the Gage Park section of Chicagos southwest side.
SCLC launches a project with the aim of integrating schools in Grenada,
SCLC initiates the Alabama Citizen Education Project in Wilcox County.
Dr. King writes his book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
while in Jamaica.
Alabama is ordered to desegregate all public schools.
Dr. King attacks the governments Vietnam policy in a speech at
the Chicago Coliseum.
Dr. King makes a statement about the war in Vietnam, Beyond Vietnam,
at the Riverside Church in New York City.
One black student is killed in a riot on the campus of all Negro Jackson
State College in Jackson, Mississippi.
The Justice Department reports that more than 50 percent of all eligible
black voters are registered in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana
and South Carolina.
Twenty-three people die and 725 are injured in riots in Newark, New Jersey.
Forty-three die and 324 are injured in the Detroit riots -- the worst
of the century.
Black leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins
and Whitney Young appeal for an end to the riots, which have proved
ineffective and damaging to the civil rights cause and the entire nation.
The Supreme Court upholds the contempt-of-court convictions of Dr. King
and seven other black leaders who led the 1963 marches in Birmingham,
Alabama. Dr. King and his aides enter jail to serve four-day sentences.
Dr. King announces the formation by SCLC of a Poor Peoples Campaign,
with the aim of representing the problems of poor blacks and whites.
Sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. King leads six thousand protesters on a march through downtown Memphis
in support of striking sanitation workers. Disorder breaks out during
which black youths loot stores. One sixteen-year-old is killed and fifty
people are injured.
Dr. King’s last speech titled “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” is
delivered at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. King is assassinated as he stands talking on the balcony of his second-floor
room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He dies in St. Josephs Hospital
from a gunshot wound in the neck.
Dr. King is buried in Atlanta, Georgia.
Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kennedy is shot in Los Angeles
and dies the next day.
Following passage of Public Law 98-144, President Ronald Reagan signs
a proclamation declaring the third Monday in January of each year a public
holiday in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
A jury of twelve citizens of Memphis, Shelby
County, TN concluded in Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King,
III, Bernice King, Dexter Scott King and Yolanda King Vs. Loyd Jowers
and Other Unknown Conspirators that Loyd Jowers and governmental
agencies including the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee,
and the federal government were party to the conspiracy to assassinate
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.