Every January, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we remember his service and activism. Dr. King served a key role in the American Civil Rights Movement from the mid-1950s
and through his life.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is symbolic of uniting as a community and nation.
Dr. King’s Life
1929 Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to parents Alberta Williams King and Reverend Martin Luther King Sr.
1944 Dr. King enrolled at Morehouse College in 1944 at only 15 years old. He earned his PhD in systematic theology in 1955 at Boston University.
1955 Rosa Parks advocated for herself and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chose Dr. King as the leader for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Supreme Court ruled segregated seating on public buses unconstitutional in November 1956.
1957 Dr. King and fellow civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group committed to achieving equality for Black Americans. Dr. King gave lectures and led nonviolent protests worldwide.
1963 Dr. King organized the March on Washington with civil rights and religious groups. The purpose of this peaceful rally was to show the injustices Black Americans faced across the country. This historic event is known as the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
1964 Dr. King earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his powerful activism against racism and movement for equality.
The Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public areas and banned employment discrimination. This paved the way for two major laws: The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited discriminatory voting practices, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of property.
Find out more by taking a virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. This museum is at the site of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated in April 1968.
Take a virtual tour of the museum in the video below.
Advocacy continues today as we unite to promote equality as a nation and worldwide. Organizations like the NAACP continue civil rights initiatives and social justice activism, while Color of Change designs campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back and champions solutions that move us all forward. Follow these organizations and more to see how you can drive change.
Serve Like Dr. King
In honor of Dr. King’s life of service and activism, find opportunities to serve in your area. Visit VolunteerMatch.org.
We’re recognizing acts of service in honor of Dr. King. Share your service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or tagging Arete Living on social media!