Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. King's death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.
December 24, 1967
The fifth and last lecture of the Massey Lecture series, delivered at King's home church, Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
April 28, 1950
≈ 37 minutes
In this paper, written for G. W. Davis’s course History of Living Religions at Crozer Theological Seminary, King explores the tenets of Mahayana Buddhism and implicitly associates that religion’s morality and popular appeal with the ideals of Christianity. King drew chiefly on S. Radhakrishnan’s Indian Philosophy and J. B. Pratt’s The Pilgrimage of Buddhism. (King later met Radhakrishnan during his 1959 trip to India.) Davis gave King an A for the paper, calling it “a clear statement,” and a B+ for the course overall.
August 16, 1967
Delivered at the 11th Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, about seven months before King's assassination.