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Martin Luther King Timeline

The important dates in the life of the American Civil Rights Leader
His childhood, family and education
His fight against segregation
The great orator and his famous "I Have a Dream" speech
His assassination and funeral

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Martin Luther King was famous as a great orator and the American Civil Rights Leader

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Martin Luther King Timeline

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Short Biography of Martin Luther King
Date of Birth: Born on January 15, 1929
Place of Birth : Atlanta, Georgia
Parents: Father - Baptist minister Michael Luther King
             Mother: Schoolteacher Alberta King



This timeline starts on January 15, 1929 when Michael Luther King Jr. (later known as Martin Luther King Jr.) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were Baptist minister Michael Luther King and Schoolteacher Alberta King.
In due course his father changed both of their names to Martin to honor the German Protestant, Martin Luther
He had an older sister called Willie Christine (September 11, 1927)



His brother named Alfred Daniel was born (July 30, 1930 – July 1, 1969).



January: King begins nursery school

1935 - 1942


1935: Baltimore Court rules Donald Murray must be admitted to white law school
September: Martin attends the Yonge Street Elementary School. His education continued over the next few years at the David T. Howard Elementary School and the Atlanta University Laboratory School



WW2 begins

1942 - 1943


Martin attends Booker T. Washington High School but leaves before graduation due to his acceptance and early admission in the Atlanta Morehouse College program for advanced placement
April: C.O.R.E. (The Congress of Racial Equality) is founded by James Farmer
May 14, 1943: The first lunch counter sit-ins took place in Chicago, Illinois at Jack Spratt's Coffee Shop



September: Martin Luther King attends Morehouse College in Atlanta.



WW2 ends



June 3: The U.S. Supreme Court banned segregation in interstate bus travel
Aug 10: Race riots occur in Athens, Alabama
September 29: Race riots erupt in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 5: The National Committee on Civil Rights is created by President Harry Truman to investigate racism in America



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decided to become a minister and delivered his first prepared sermon in his father's church, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, at age 18 in the Summer of 1947
April 9: "Freedom Riders" tested the laws of interstate bus travel in the segregated South
April 15:
Jackie Robinsonbecame the first African-American to play major league baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Committee on Civil Rights under President Truman condemn racial injustices towards Blacks in America in a report dated October 29, 1947, entitled "To Secure These Rights."



February 25: Martin Luther King is appointed to serve as the assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
June 8: King graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a B.A. in Sociology at the age of 19
September 14: He begins attending Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.



May: He graduates from Crozer with a Bachelor of Divinity degree at the age of 22
September:  Begins studying systematic theology as a graduate student at Boston University



June 18: Martin marries Coretta Scott at her parent’s home in Marion, Alabama. Coretta was the younger daughter of Obadiah and Bernice McMurray Scott
June 19: The first bus boycott starts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana



May 17: U.S Supreme Court rules that racial segregation in the public schools of America was unconstitutional
September 1: Martin Luther King is appointed pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.



May 31: U.S. Supreme Court orders desegregation of the public schools "with all deliberate speed"
June 5:  King earns his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University
August 28: Emmett Till, age 14, was tortured and lynched in Money, Mississippi
November 17:Yoland Denise, King’s first child, is born at Montgomery, Alabama
November 25: The Interstate Commerce Commission banned segregation in buses and all waiting rooms involved in interstate travel
December 1: Rosa Parks, a 42 year old seamstress, is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give her seat on the bus to a white male passenger.
December 5: Martin Luther King becomes the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which was organised due to protest against the incident involving Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott begins



January 30: Dr. Martin Luther King’s house is bombed, there are no injuries
December 21: The Montgomery buses are desegregated and black passengers could legally take any seat on the city's buses



January – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is formed to form a strategy for ending segregation, and Martin Luther King is elected president.
January 27: An unexploded bomb was discovered on the family's front porch
February 18: Martin Luther King is featured on the cover of Time magazine.
March 6: Visits Ghana in West Africa.
May 17: At the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial, King’s delivers his first national address entitled, “Give Us The Ballot.”
September 9: Congress of the United States passes the Civil Rights Act of 1957
September 24/25: President Eisenhower sent in federal troops to enforce integration of schools in Little Rock. Nine black students were escorted into the school by court order
October 23: King’s second child, Martin Luther King III is born at Montgomery, Alabama



June 23: Dr. King meets with President Eisenhower
September 17: King’s book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story is published.
September 20: Dr. King is stabbed by a woman while at a book signing in a department store in Harlem, New York



February 2 - March 10:  Martin Luther King and Coretta visit India as guests of Prime Minister Nehru
King’s book,  The Measure of a Man is published



February: King and his family move to Atlanta where he serves as assistant pastor to his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church
May 6: President Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law
October 19: Dr. King is arrested for breaking the state of Georgia's trespassing law while picketing in Atlanta.



January 31:  Their third child, Dexter Scott is born in Atlanta, Georgia
May 4: An integrated group of 'Freedom Riders' left Washington, DC on Greyhound buses, and, upon arrival near Anniston, Alabama, the bus was burned, and the riders were beaten
October 16: Martin Luther King meets with President Kennedy to gain his support for the civil rights movement.
December 16: Dr. King and other protesters are arrested in Albany, Georgia



September 30: Riots break out on the campus at the University of Mississippi



March 28: Dr. King’s fourth child, Bernice Albertine is born in Atlanta, Georgia
April 3: Birmingham, Alabama police chief, Eugene "Bull" Connor, becomes a symbol of racism when he broadcasts his methods of using dogs and fire hoses to stop peaceful demonstrators of the Black protest movement
April 12: Dr.King is arrested at a Sit-in demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama protesting against public eating facilities
April 16: Whilst in his Birmingham cell Dr. King writes about his concerns on the pace of justice in civil rights for Black Americans in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
June 11: Governor George Wallace stands in the door of the University of Alabama, refusing the entrance of Black students
June 12: Civil Rights Leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi
August 28: Martin Luther King meets with President John F. Kennedy and after their meeting Dr. King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd estimated at 250,000 at the Marched on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
September 1: Dr. King publishes his second book, The Strength to Love
September 15: Four little girls are killed when a bomb explodes inside the church where the children are seated. Later Dr. King delivers a eulogy for three of the girls
September 18: The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama is attacked
November 22: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated



January 3: Time Magazine honors Dr. King as "Man of the Year"
January 18:  Dr. King meets with President Lyndon B. Johnson
March 26: Dr. King meets Malcolm X
June 4: King’s third book, Why We Can’t Wait is published
June 11: Martin Luther King is arrested in St. Augustine, Florida for attempting to eat in a white-only restaurant
July 2: Dr. King invited to the White House while President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Public Accommodation and Fair Employment sections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964
August 4: Three civil rights workers were killed on a trip through Philadelphia, Mississippi. Their names were James Chaney who was black and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner who were both white
December 10: Martin Luther King becomes the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through non-violent means.



February 21: Malcolm X is assassinated in New York City
March 7: The Edmund Pettus Bridge incident took place in Selma, Alabama where marchers were beaten and tear-gassed
March 17 – 25: King and 25,000 other protestors march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.
March 25: Mrs. Viola Liuzzo was killed driving some of the black marchers back to Selma
August 6: The 1965 Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson
August 11/12: The Watts Riots erupted in California when Thirty-five people died. The National Guard had been called in to stop America's worst single racial disturbance.



January 13: Robert C. Weaver becomes the first Black to serve in the cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs
May 16: Dr. King speaks out against the government's policy in Vietnam
June 6: James Meredith was shot and wounded on the "March Against Fear" from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson Mississippi
June 7: After the shooting Dr. King, Floyd McKissick, and Stokely Carmichael resume the “March Against Fear” from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi
June 27: SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael publicly uses the militant term, "Black Power" in Greenwood, Mississippi,
July 18-23: The National Guard are called in when Summer Riots break out in Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Omaha, Nebraska and Ohio
August 6: Dr. King marches on the issue for open housing in Chicago and is stoned by angry onlookers



January: Dr. King’s fourth book, Where Do We Go from Here? Chaos or Community is published
June 23: Thurgood Marshall is the first Black on the U.S. Supreme Court
May 1 - October 1: Summer riots where 43 people are killed. Dr. Martin Luther King makes appeals to stop the riots



March 28 – King leads striking sanitation workers in a march in Memphis, Tennessee. The march erupts in violence.
April 3 – Dr. King delivers his last speech at a rally at Mason Temple (the national headquarters of the Church of God in Christ), Memphis. The famous and inspiring “
I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech
April 4: While standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel  in Memphis, Tennessee Dr. Martin Luther King is shot and killed
April 5: President Lyndon B. Johnson decrees that Sunday, April 7, 1968 be a day of national mourning in honor of Dr. King
April 7: His body is viewed by mourners on the campus of Spelman College in Atlanta
April 9: His funeral was held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta. More than 300,000 people marched through Atlanta with his mule-drawn coffin. He is buried in South View Cemetery, Atlanta
June 8: James Earl Ray was arrested at a London airport for the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King.
May 10: James Earl Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison



He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter



Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a national holiday in the United States



April 23: James Earl Ray the convicted killer of D. King died in prison of liver failure



Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal

Martin Luther King Timeline

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