The Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. is a seminal, and sometimes divisive character, in United States History. He was a leader without parallel during the civil rights movement from the middle 1950’s until the his death in 1968. He was the organizer of many “freedom marches,” he formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he gave one of the most recognized speeches ever. But, who was Dr. King? How did his early life prepare him for his rise as a national figure, and the leader of people?

King was born in Atlanta, GA on January 15, 1929. He was the son of a prominent clergyman in the area, and was raised to his faith. He attended elementary school in Atlanta and when he was only 15 years old he was granted early enrollment at Morehouse College. He was able to skip the ninth and twelfth grades. This is significant because it speaks to his maturity during this time. He was already ahead of his peers, and because of the activism displayed in an educated home, he was already thinking about civil rights.

     When he left Morehouse College with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, he headed to Crozer Theological Seminary and obtained a Bachelor’s in Divinity in 1951. He then attended Boston University and was rewarded with a PhD in 1955 in systematic theology. It is notable that he had a decided since of purpose, and was able to complete his education at a very young age. By the time he was 26 he had already achieved the pinnacle of his profession in terms of education. The Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.     

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