University of Hawai'i Maui Community College Speech Department

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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MLK, Jr. Tribute:

March on Detroit

"I have a Dream" Speech

Beyond Vietnam

A Letter from Jail

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Moments before the assasination of MLK


January 15 - Martin Luther King, Jr., is born to Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr. (the former Alberta Christine Williams), in Atlanta, Georgia.

1935 - 1944

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 ( Atlanta ) without graduating from high school.


King is licensed to preach and becomes assistant to his father, who is pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta.


February 25 - King is ordained to the Baptist ministry.

June - King graduates from Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in sociology.

September - King enters Crozer Theological Seminary, 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.


June - King graduates from Crozer with a B.D. degree.


June 18 - King marries Coretta Scott in Marion, Alabama.


May 17 - The Supreme Court of the United States rules unanimously in Brown vs. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

October 31 - King is installed by Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., as the twentieth pastor of the Dexter Avenue Church, Montgomery.


June 5 - King receives a Ph.D. degree in Systematic Theology from Boston University.

November 17 - The Kings' first child, Yolanda Denise, is born in Montgomery.

December 1 - Mrs. Rosa Parks, a 42-old Montgomery seamstress, refuses to relinquish her bus seat to a white man and is arrested.

December 5 - The first day of the bus boycott. The trial of Mrs. Parks. A meeting of movement leaders is held. Dr. King is unanimously elected president of an organization named the Montgomery Improvement Association, a name proposed by Reverend Ralph Abernathy.

December 10 - The Montgomery Bus Company suspends service in black neighborhoods.


January 26 - Dr. King is arrested on a charge of traveling 30 miles per hour in a 25 mile per-hour zone in Montgomery. He is released on his own recognizance.

January 30 - A bomb is thrown onto the porch of Dr. King's 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.

February 2 - A suit is filed in federal district court asking that Montgomery's travel segregation laws be declared unconstitutional.

February 21 - 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."

June 4 - A United States district court rules that racial segregation on city bus lines is unconstitutional.

August 10 - Dr. King is a speaker before the platform committee of the Democratic Party in Chicago.

October 30 - Mayor Gayle of Montgomery instructs the city's 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."

November 13 - The United States Supreme Court affirms the decision of the three-judge district court in declaring unconstitutional Alabama's state and local laws requiring segregation buses.

December 20 - Federal injunctions prohibiting segregation on buses are served on city and bus company officials in Montgomery. Injunctions are also served on state offcials.

December 21 - Montgomery buses are integrated.


January 27 - An unexploded bomb is discovered on the front porch of the Kings' house.

February - The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is founded. Dr. King is elected its president.

May 17 - Dr. King delivers a speech for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom celebrating the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's desegregation decision. The speech, entitled "Give Us the Ballot," is given at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

June 13 - Dr. King has a conference with the Vice President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon.

September - President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalizes the Arkansas National Guard to escort nine Negro students to an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas.

September 9 - 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.

October 23 - A second child, Martin Luther III, is born to Dr. and Mrs. King.


June 23 - Dr. King, along with Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph, and Lester Granger, meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

September 3 - Dr. King is arrested on a charge of loitering (later changed to "failure to obey an officer") in the vicinity of the Montgomery Recorder's Court. He is released on $100 bond.

September 4 - 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. King's objection, by Montgomery Police Commissioner Clyde C. Sellers.

September 17 - Dr. King's book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story is published by Harper & Row.

September 20 - Dr. King is stabbed in the chest by Mrs. Izola Curry, 42, who is subsequently alleged to be mentally deranged. The stabbing occurs in the heart of Harlem while Dr. King is autographing his recently published book. His condition is said to be serious but not critical.


January 30 - Dr. King meets with Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers union, in Detroit.

February 2-March 10 - Dr. and Mrs. King spend a month in India studying Gandhi's techniques of nonviolence, as guests of Prime Minister Nehru.


January 24 - The King family moves to Atlanta. Dr. King becomes co-pastor, with his father, of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

February 1 - The first lunch-counter sit-in to desegregate eating facilities is held by students in Greensboro, North Carolina.

February 17 - A warrant is issued for Dr. King's arrest on charges that he had falsified his 1956 and 1958 Alabama state income tax returns.

April 15 - The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded to coordinate student protest at Shaw University, 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 founding.

May 28 - Dr. King is acquitted of the tax evasion charge by an all-white jury in Montgomery.

June 10 - Dr. King and A. Philip Randolph announce plans for picketing both the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

June 24 - Dr. King has a conference with John F. Kennedy, candidate for president of the United States, about racial matters.

October 19 - Dr. King is arrested at an Atlanta sit-in and is jailed on a charge of violating the state's trespass law.

October 22 - 27 - The Atlanta charges are dropped. All jailed demonstrators are released except for Dr. King, who is ordered 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 bond.


January 30 - A third child, Dexter Scott, is born to Dr. and Mrs. King in Atlanta.

May 4 - The first group of Freedom Riders, intent on 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 Riders upon their arrival in Birmingham. The Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, and spend 40 to 60 days in Parchman Penitentiary.

December 15 - 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.

December 16 - Dr. King is arrested at an Albany demonstration. He is charged with obstructing the sidewalk and parading without a permit.


February 27 - Dr. King is tried and convicted for leading the December march in Albany.

May 2 - Dr. King is invited to join the Birmingham protests.

July 27 - Dr. King is arrested at an Albany city hall prayer vigil and jailed on charges of failure to obey a police officer, obstructing the sidewalk, and disorderly conduct.

September 20 - 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.

October 16 - Dr. King meets with President John F. Kennedy at the White House for a one-hour conference.


March 28 - The Kings' fourth child, Bernice Albertine, is born.

March - April - Sit-in demonstrations are held in Birmingham to protest segregation of eating facilities. Dr. King is arrested during a demonstration.

April 16 - Dr. King writes the "Letter From A Birmingham Jail" while imprisoned for demonstrating.

May 3, 4, 5 - Eugene ("Bull") Connor, director of public safety of Birmingham, orders the use of police dogs and fire hoses upon the marching protestors (young adults and children).

May 20 - The Supreme Court of the United States rules Birmingham's segregation ordinances unconstitutional.

June - Dr. King's book "Strength to Love" is published by Harper & Row.

June 11 - 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 federali~es the Alabama National Guard, and Governor Wallace removes himself from blocking the entrance of the Negro students.

June 12 - Medgar Evers, NAACP leader in Jackson Mississippi, is assassinated at his home in the early-morning darkness, by a rifle bullet. His memorial service is held in Jackson on June 15 and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C., on June 19.

August 28 - The March on Washington, the first large 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, and afterward he and other civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy in the White House.

September 2-10 - Governor Wallace orders the Alabama state troopers to stop the court-ordered integration of Alabama's 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.

November 22 - President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.


Summer - COFO(Council of Federated Organizations) initiates the Mississippi Summer Project, a voter-registration drive organized and run by black and white students.

May - June - Dr. King joins other SCLC workers in demonstrations for the integration of public accommodations in St. Augustine, Florida. He is jailed.

June - Dr. King's book "Why We Can`t Wait" is published by Harper & Row.

June 21 - Three civil rights workers --James Chaney ( black ) and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner (white)--are reported missing after a short trip to Philadelphia, Mississippi.

July 2 - 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 White House.

July 18 - 23 - Riots occur in Harlem. One black man is killed.

August - Riots occur in New Jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

August 4 - 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.

September - Dr. King and Reverend Ralph Abernathy visit West Berlin at the invitation of Mayor Willy Brandt.

September 18 - Dr. King has an audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.

December 10 - Dr. King receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.


February 21 - Malcolm X, leader of the Organization of Afro-American Unity and former Black Muslim leader, is murdered by blacks in New York City.

March 7 - A group of marching demonstrators ( from SNCC and SCLC) led by SCLC's Hosea Williams are beaten when crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their planned march to Montgomery, Alabama, from Selma, Alabama, by state highway patrolmen under the direction of Al Lingo and sheriff's deputies under the leadership of Jim Clark. An order by Governor Wallace had prohibited the march.

March 9 - Unitarian minister James Reeb is beaten by four white segregationists in Selma and dies two days later.

March 15 - 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."

March 16 - Black and white demonstrators are beaten by sheriff's deputies and police on horseback in Montgomery.

March 21 - 25 Over 3,000 protest marchers leave Selma for a march to Montgomery, protected by federal troops. They are joined along the way by a total of 25,000 marchers. Upon reaching the Capitol they hear an address by Dr. King.

March 25 - Mrs. Viola Liuzzo, wife of a Detroit Teamsters Union business agent, is shot and killed while driving a carload of marchers back to Selma.

July Dr. King visits Chicago. 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 Greene, Wilcox, and Eutaw counties, and in the cities of Montgomery and Birmingham.

August 6 - The 1965 Voting Rights Act is signed by President Johnson.

August 11 - 16 - In Watts, the black ghetto of Los Angeles, riots leave 35 dead, of whom 28 are black.


February - Dr. King rents an apartment in the black ghetto of Chicago.

February 23 - Dr. King meets with Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Black Muslims, in Chicago.

March - Dr. King takes over a Chicago slum building and is sued by its owner.

March 25 - The Supreme Court of the United States rules any poll tax unconstitutional.

Spring - Dr. King makes a tour of Alabama to help elect black candidates.

Spring - The Alabama primary is held, the first time since Reconstruction that blacks have voted in any numbers.

May 16- 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 co-chairman of Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam.

June - Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks (SNCC) use the slogan "Black Power" in public for the first time, before reporters in Greenwood, Mississippi.

June 6 - James Meredith is shot soon after beginning his 220-mile "March Against Fear" from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi.

July 10 - Dr. King launches a drive to make Chicago an "open city" in regard to housing.

August 5 - Dr. King is stoned in Chicago as he leads a march through crowds of angry whites in the Gage Park section of Chicago's southwest side.

September - SCLC launches a project with the aim of integrating schools in Grenada, Mississippi.

Fall - SCLC initiates the Alabama Citizen Education Project in Wilcox County.


January - Dr. King writes his book "Where Do We Go From Here?" while in Jamaica.

March 12 - Alabama is ordered to desegregate all public schools.

March 25 - Dr. King attacks the government's Vietnam policy in a speech at the

Chicago Coliseum.

April 4 - Dr. King makes a statement about the war in Vietnam, "Beyond Vietnam," at the Riverside Church, New York City.

May 10 - 11 - One black student is killed in rioting on the campus of all-Negro Jackson State College, Jackson, Mississippi.

July 6 - The Justice Department reports that more than 50 percent of all eligible black voters are registered in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

July 12 -17 - Twenty-three people die, 725 are injured in riots in Newark, New Jersey.

July 23 -30 - Forty-three die, 324 are injured in the Detroit riots, the worst of the century.

July 26 - 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."

October 30 - The Supreme Court upholds the contempt-of-court convictions of Dr. King and seven other black leaders who led 1963 marches in Birmingham. Dr. King and his aides enter jail to serve four-day sentences.

November 27 - Dr. King announces the formation by SCLC of a Poor People's Campaign, with the aim of representing the problems of poor blacks and whites.


February 12 - Sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee.

March 28 - Dr. King leads 6,000 protesters on a march through downtown Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers. Disorders break out during which black youths loot stores. One 16-year-old is killed, 50 people are injured.

April 3 - Dr. King's last speech, entitled "I've Been to the Mountain Top," is delivered at the Memphis Masonic Temple.

April 4 - Dr. King is assassinated by a sniper as he stands talking on the balcony of his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He dies in St. Joseph's Hospital from a gunshot wound in the neck. James Earl Ray is later captured and convicted of the murder.

June 5 - Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kennedy is shot in Los Angeles. He dies the next day.


January 18 - Following passage of Public Law 98-144, President Ronald Reagan signs proclamation declaring the third Monday in January of each year a public holiday in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Last Revised: January 16, 2002