Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King followed in his father's footsteps and became a minister in 1947. He preached that African Americans were not getting equal rights.
King believed African Americans should work for equal rights in nonviolent ways. He did not want anyone to get hurt. Many people listened to what King had to say. Soon he became the voice of the Civil Rights Movement.
King helped plan a nonviolent bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama which brought him national recognition. After that he formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The SCLC led many nonviolent protests.
King was arrested many times. He was often treated badly. People spat and cursed at him. Some people even threw rocks at him.
In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This is given by Sweden each year to a person who has done the most to promote peace in the world that year.
In 1968 a group of sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee were striking. King went to see if he could help in their fight for better working conditions. On April 4, 1968, King was standing on the balcony of his hotel room when he was shot and killed.
King's murder set off riots in many cities across America. His killer was later arrested and sent to prison for murder. The day before he died, King gave a speech in which he said, "Free, at last, free at last. thank Lord Almighty, we're free at last."