Martin Luther king Jr was born in Atlanta, Georgia in Southern USA, on 15th January 1929. King's father was a prominent baptist minister, inspiring his son to follow him into the church to study theology. In 1961 black and white civil rights protesters defined state segregation laws by travelling together on segregated buses. The government sent in national guardsmen to protect the riders. This led to increased racial tension and activity ny the racist Ku Klux Klan, who carried flaming crosses in marches in southern USA.
King went to jail many times for his beliefs. During a period in jail in Birmingham, Alabama, in spring 1963, he wrote an eloquent letter outlining his philosophy of non-voilent protests. On 28th of August 1963, King led the historic march on Washington to demand civil rights reform. More than 200,000 marches heard his words: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise-up and live out the true meaning of it's creed: we hold the truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal".
The last years of King's life were marked by increasing disputes with more radical black leaders who disagreed with his non-violence approach. In April 1968, he visted Memphis, Tennessee to offer support to striking city sanitation workers; he was assassinated at the motel where he was staying on 4th of April. Protest riots broke out in most major US cities.
Millenium Family Enyclopedia-By:Dorling Kindersley limited 1997