Revised: July 10, 2016

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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil-Rights Leader, 1929 - 1968

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 at his family home in Atlanta, Georgia. King was an eloquent Baptist minister and leader of the civil-rights movement in America from the Mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. King promoted non-violent means to achieve civil-rights reform and was awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

King's grandfather was a Baptist preacher. His father was pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. King earned his own Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozier Theological Seminary in 1951 and earned his Doctor of Philosophy from Boston University in 1955.

While at seminary King became acquainted with Mohandas Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolent social protest. On a trip to India in 1959 King met with followers of Gandhi. During these discussions he became more convinced than ever that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.

As a pastor of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama, King lead a Black bus boycott. He and ninety others were arrested and indicted under the provisions of a law making it illegal to conspire to obstruct the operation of a business. King and several others were found guilty, but appealed their case. As the bus boycott dragged on, King was gaining a national reputation. The ultimate success of the Montgomery bus boycott made King a national hero.

Dr. King's 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail inspired a growing national civil rights movement. In Birmingham, the goal was to completely end the system of segregation in every aspect of public life (stores, no separate bathrooms and drinking fountains, etc.) and in job discrimination. Also in 1963, King led a massive march on Washington DC where he delivered his now famous, I Have A Dream speech. King's tactics of active nonviolence (sit-ins, protest marches) had put civil-rights squarely on the national agenda.

On April 4, 1968, King was shot by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was only 39 at the time of his death. Dr. King was turning his attention to a nationwide campaign to help the poor at the time of his assassination. He had never wavered in his insistence that nonviolence must remain the central tactic of the civil-rights movement, nor in his faith that everyone in America would some day attain equal justice.

If you are aware of books, movies, databases, web sites or other information sources about Martin Luther King, Jr. or related subjects, or if you would like to comment, please contact us.

Resource Menu
Books By/About Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where Do We Go from Here Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?
by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King's last book provides a snapshot of America and the civil rights movement in 1967. Mandatory reading for students, teachers, public officials and business leaders.

Purchase this paperback edition of Where Do We Go from Here

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Martin Luther King, Jr., Clayborne Carson (Editor)

Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson is the director and editor of the Martin Luther King Papers Project. With thousands of King's essays, notes, letters, speeches, and sermons at his disposal, Carson has organized King's writings into a posthumous autobiography.

Purchase this hardcover edition of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Margaret Davidson

"An inspiring portrait . . . Well documented, clearly written and illustrated with captivating photos." - Kirkus Review

Purchase this paperback edition of I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King

DVDs About Martin Luther King, Jr.

Citizen King Citizen King
Produced by PBS Paramount

This two-hour documentary explores the last five years of King's life. It includes personal recollections and eyewitness accounts of friends, movement associates, journalists, law enforcement officers, and historians.

Purchase this DVD edition of Citizen King

Martin Luther King Jr. - I Have a Dream Martin Luther King Jr. - I Have a Dream

This DVD offers the "I Have a Dream" speech in its entirety, as well as footage of the opposition the protesters faced, such as the fire hoses the police in Alabama used to disperse the crowds.

Purchase this DVD edition of I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King: Historical Perspective Martin Luther King: Historical Perspective

A brief but, informative look into the Civil Rights movement lead by Dr. King.

Purchase this DVD edition of Martin Luther King Jr.: Historical Perspective

Martin Luther King, Jr. Online Videos

"I Have A Dream"
A 17 minute, 27 second video of Rev. King on the steps of Lincoln Memorial giving his famous speech.

ML King Assassinated
Walter Cronkite reports the details of the shooting and the nation's reaction to the assassination of Dr. King. (

Related Websites

The ML King, Jr., Papers Project
at Stanford University

The King Center
The official website of The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Martin Luther King Jr. resources
Maintained by The Seattle Times

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

MLK Online

The MLK National Memorial

National Civil Rights Museum

King's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

"I Have A Dream" Speech

Martin Luther King Jr.

Other Civil-Rights Leaders in the Lucidcafé Library

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