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of the Life of

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Books by and about  Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Strength to Love / The Measure of a Man Why We Can't Wait

A Testament of Hope  /  A Knock at Midnight   /  The Papers of  Martin Luther King, Jr., 1948-1963


Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story


Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation


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MLK Chronology

1929 - 1968


1929 (15 January) -- Born to Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr. at 501 Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

1935-1944 -- Attends David T. Howard Elementary School, Atlanta University Laboratory School; Booker T. Washington High School

                      Enters Morehouse at age 15          

1947 -- 18-year-old King is licensed to preach and becomes assistant to his father, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta

1948 (February) -- Ordained to the Baptist ministry

         (June) -- Graduates from Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in sociology

         (September) -- Enter Crozer Theological Seminary (Chester, PA). Begins study of the life and teachings of  Mahatma Gandhi

1953 -- Marries Coretta Scott in Marion, Alabama

1954 (May) -- Supreme Court rules unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional

        (October) -- Installed as the 20th pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama

1955 (June) -- Earns a Ph.D degree in systematic theology from Boston University

        (December) -- Mrs. Rosa Parks arrested because she refused to give her bus seat to a white man. Boycott begins 5 December. King

                               elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association

1956 (January) -- Arrested in Montgomery and released on own recognizance. Bomb thrown onto porch of King home

        (February) -- Indicted with other protesters on the charge of being part of a conspiracy to prevent the operation of business without

                             "just or legal cause"

        (June) -- a US District Court rules racial segregation on city bus lines unconstitutional

        (October) --  Mayor of Montgomery instructs the city counsel "to file such proceedings as it may deem proper to stop the operation of

                             car pools and transportation systems growing out of the boycott"

        (December) --  Federal injunctions prohibiting segregation on buses are served on city and bus company officials and state officials.

                                21 December buses are integrated

1957 (February) -- Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is founded. Dr. King is elected its first president. King appears on

                              cover of Time magazine

        (May) -- Delivers "Give Us the Ballot" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on the 3rd anniversary of Brown decision

        (September) -- President Eisenhower federalizes the Arkansas National Guard to escort nine Negro students to an all-white high

                               school in Little Rock.  First civil rights act since Reconstruction is passed, creating the Civil Rights Commission and the

                              Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department

1958 (June) -- King with Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Lester Granger meet with President Eisenhower

        (September) -- Arrested in the vicinity of the Montgomery Recorder's Court and released on $100 bond. Convicted and fine paid by

                               Montgomery Police Commissioner over King's objections.

                              Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story published

1959 (February) -- With Mrs. King begin a month-long visit to India to study Gandhi's techniques of non-violence

1960 (January) -- King Family moves to Atlanta. Becomes co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church

         (February) -- First lunch counter sit-in held by students in Greensboro, North Carolina

         (April) -- Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) founded at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. King and

                       James Lawson are the keynote speakers

        (June) -- King and A. Philip Randolph announce plans to picket the republican and Democratic national conventions

        (October) -- Arrested with other demonstrators at an Atlanta sit-in on the charge of violating Georgia's trespass law.

                            All arrested demonstrators are released except King.

                            Later eleased from Reidsville State Prison on a $2,000 bond

1961 (May) -- First group of Freedom Riders, organized by CORE, leaves Washington, DC shortly after Supreme Court has outlawed

                       segregation in interstate transportation terminals. Bus burned outside Anniston, Alabama.

                       Freedom Riders beaten in Birmingham and arrested in Jackson, Mississippi. Spend 40 to 60 days in Parchman Penitentiary

        (December) -- Arrives in Albany, Georgia in response to a call from the leader of the Albany Movement to desegregate pubic

                               facilities. Arrested at a demonstration

1962 (February) -- Tried and convicted for leading a march in Albany

        (May) -- Invited to join the Birmingham protests

        (July) -- Arrested at an Albany city hall prayer vigil

        (September) -- James Meredith makes first attempt to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Enrolled by order of the Supreme Court

                                Escorted onto campus by US Marshals on 1 October

1963 (March) -- Sit-in demonstrations held in Birmingham. King arrested

        (April) -- Writes the "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

        (May) -- US Supreme Court rules Birmingham's segregation ordinances unconstitutional

        (June) -- Strength to Love published

        (August) -- March on Washington. King delivers "I Have a Dream" speech on steps of Lincoln memorial

1964 (May) -- Joins other SCLC workers in demonstrations for the integration of public accommodations and is arrested

        (June) -- Why We Can't Wait published

        (July) -- Attends the signing of the Public Accommodations Bill, part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

        (July-August) -- Riots occur in Harlem, New jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania

        (September) -- King with Rev. Ralph Abernathy visit West Berlin at the invitation of Mayor Wily Brandt. King has audience with

                               Pope Paul VI at Vatican

        (December) -- Receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Nobel Peace Prize Speech

1965 (March) -- Over 3,000 marchers leave Selma, Alabama for a march to Montgomery where they hear an address by King

        (August) -- Voting Rights Act is signed by President Johnson

1966 (March) -- US Supreme Court rules poll tax unconstitutional

        (Spring) -- Tours Alabama to help elect Black candidates. For first time since Reconstruction a number of Blacks vote in the Alabama


        (May) -- A King anti-war statement is read at a Washington rally to protest the war in Vietnam. King agrees to serve as

                      co-chairman of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam

        (July) -- Launches a drive make Chicago an "open city" in regard to housing

        (August) -- Stoned in Chicago while leading a march through crowds of angry whites

        (September) -- SCLC launches a project to integrate the public schools of Grenada, Mississippi and initiates the Alabama Citizen

                               Education Project in Wilcox County

1967 (January) -- Writes Where We Go from Here?

        (March) -- Desegregation of public schools ordered in Alabama. King attacks US policy in Vietnam in Chicago speech

        (April 4) -- Makes "Beyond Vietnam" speech in Riverside Church in New York City

        (July) -- Riots in Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit. Michigan. King and other prominent black leaders call for an end to riots.

        (October) -- Supreme Court upholds the contempt of court convictions of Dr. King and other black leaders who led the 1963

                            marches in Birmingham, Alabama

        (November) -- Announces the formation of a Poor people's Campaign by SCLC to address the problems of the poor

1968 (March) -- Leads 6,000 on a march through downtown Memphis in support of 1300 striking sanitation workers

        (April) -- Delivers his last speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop,"  Memphis Masonic Temple

                       Assassinated April 4. Dies in St. Joseph's Hospital

Source: National BLACK MONITOR • January, 1984

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The Word of the Lord Is Upon Me

The Righteous Performance of Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Jonathan Rieder

“You don’t know me,” Martin Luther King, Jr., once declared to those who criticized his denunciation of the Vietnam War, who wanted to confine him to the ghetto of “black” issues. Now, forty years after being felled by an assassin’s bullet, it is still difficult to take the measure of the man: apostle of peace or angry prophet; sublime exponent of a beloved community or fiery Moses leading his people up from bondage; black preacher or translator of blackness to the white world? This book explores the extraordinary performances through which King played with all of these possibilities, and others too, blending and gliding in and out of idioms and identities. Taking us deep into King’s backstage discussions with colleagues, his preaching to black congregations, his exhortations in mass meetings, and his crossover addresses to whites, Jonathan Rieder tells a powerful story about the tangle of race, talk, and identity in the life of one of America’s greatest moral and political leaders.

A brilliant interpretive endeavor grounded in the sociology of culture, The Word of the Lord Is Upon Me delves into the intricacies of King’s sermons, speeches, storytelling, exhortations, jokes, jeremiads, taunts, repartee, eulogies, confessions, lamentation, and gallows humor, as well as the author’s interviews with members of King’s inner circle. The King who emerges is a distinctively modern figure who, in straddling the boundaries of diverse traditions, ultimately transcended them all. Beyond Vietnam  / Chronology

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.The Economy

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 5 May 2012




 Home   Du Bois-Malcolm-King  Chronology


Related files: Eulogy for the Young Victims  Speaks to AFL-CIO  Letter from Birmingham Jail   I Have a Dream   Chaos or Community  The Legacy of MLK 

 Living Scripture in Community   Martin and Malcolm on Nonviolence